|SALVADOR, BRAZIL, March 16, 2004 - After playing almost exclusively together since 1996, veteran Canadian beach volleyball players Jody Holden and Conrad Leinemann are taking a different approach at the start of the 2004 men's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
Holden and Leinemann had played in 85 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events since August 1996, but changed partners for this week's US$180,000 Brazilian Open in an effort to post better results on the international tour beginning with the 40-team Qualification Tournament here Tuesday at a site in front of the Catussaba Resort Hotel.
Holden is seeded fifth in the Qualification Tournament with Ahren Cadieux and the Canadians posted a 21-15 and 21-19 win over 28th-seeded Dmitriy Vorobvev and Pavel Zabuslayev of Kazakhstan Tuesday. Leinemann and Richard Van Huizen scored a 21-11 and 21-12 victory over 25th-seeded Jon Grydeland and Magne Kobbevik of Norway.
To gain a spot in the Main Draw with fellow Canadians John Child and Mark Heese, Holden and Cadieux must eliminate 12th-seeded Satoshi Watanabe and Katsuhiro Shiratori of Japan while the eighth-seeded Leinemann and Van Huizen must oust 24th-seeded Janis Grinbergs and Austris Stals of Latvia.
Host Brazil has a chance to gain two more Main Draw berths Wednesday if the tandems of Fabio de Jesus Magalhães/Paulo Emilio Silva and Pedro Cunha/Pará Ferreira win. After defeating Brazilian rivals Murilo Teixeira and Thomas Klepper (21-19, 17-21 and 15-7) in the second-round of elimination matches, the fourth-seeded Magalhaes and Paulo Emilio play 13th-seeded Fabio Galli and Riccardo Fenili of Italy for a Main Draw spot.
Playing in their first SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event together, Cunha and Pará face top-seeded Eric Fonoimoana and Kevin Wong of the United States for a spot in the Main Draw. Seeded 16th in the qualifier, Cunha and Pará defeated 17th-seeded Kentaro Asahi and Koichi Nishimura of Japan 21-18 and 21-15.
Like the two Brazilians, Fonoimoana and Wong had to win Tuesday's morning country matches to advance to the elimination rounds. The Americans defeated 32nd-seeded Farid Mussa and Jose Vasquez of Venezuela 21-17 and 21-13.