|SALVADOR, BRAZIL, March 18, 2004 - The top two-seeded teams in the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season opener for men faced stiff competition here Thursday during the second round of the winner's bracket as one won and before the second was upset by the reigning Pan American champions.
After "cruising" to opening wins Thursday on the courts in front of the Catussaba Resort Hotel, top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil out-lasted Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack of Australia while second-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Harley Marques could not match the effort by Francisco Alvarez and Juan Rosell of Cuba.
Emanuel and Ricardo scored a 30-32, 21-17 and 15-12 win in 74 minutes over the "spirited" 17th-seeded Schacht and Slack of Australia before Benjamin and Harley dropped a 23-21 and 21-16 decision to the 18th-seeded Alvarez and Rosell, who won the gold medal at the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic.
Benjamin is playing with a new partner for the first two events of the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season as long-time teammate Marcio Araujo is sidelined due to a recent appendix operation.
"We entered the court already expecting a tough match," said Ricardo, a silver medallists for Brazil at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. "We had faced the Australians twice and both the matches were really close. They both jump really high and play with speed. I had a hard time blocking their spikes."
Brazil also had two other teams advance a pair of wins to open play Thursday to join other multiple winner's bracket victories from Germany, the United States and Switzerland in the US$180,000 Brazilian Open beach volleyball event.
Seventh-seeded Fred Souza/Pedro Brazão and Tande Ramos/Franco Neto also posted a pair of winner's bracket victories for Brazil as both teams defeated teams from Switzerland in their second match Thursday.
The Germans with two wins earlier Thursday were ninth-seeded Christoph Dieckmann/Andreas Scheuerpflug and fourth-seeded Markus Dieckmann/Jonas Reckermann. Also winning their first two matches were 12th-seeded Todd Rogers and Sean Scott from the United States and sixth-seeded Stefan Kobel and Patrick Heuscher of Switzerland.
With the men playing an international event in Salvador for the first-time, the Brazilian Open Main Draw continues with 16 more matches Thursday and 18 matches Friday. The final four teams advance to Saturday's semi-final matches. The medal matches will be played Sunday where the Gold Medal team wins the $27,000 first-place prize.