Men's competition, Stare Jablonki
From 21 July To 25 July 2004

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Norwegian Express Served Swiss Setback
STARE JABLONKI, POLAND, July 24, 2004 - "In nine years of playing with Vegard, I have never seen him serve like that!"

That was Jorre Kjemperud's first reaction to his second win here Saturday with Hoidalen as the 21st-seeded Norwegians scored a 21-17, 19-21 and 15-8 over top-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland to advance to the "final four" of the US$180,000 Mazury Open, presented by the Hotel Anders.

"The service games set up everything for us against the Swiss," said a smiling Kjemperud as he walked through the Mazury Open Press Centre in the Hotel Anders. "This might also be the first-time that we have won our first four matches in a double-elimination tournament. We haven't played this well in a long time. Look, it's 1 p.m. and we are done playing. For a change, we get a little rest instead of playing our way through the elimination bracket."

Saturday's win over Heuscher and Kobel also marked Kjemperud and Hoidalen's first victory over the Swiss pair since the start of the 2002 season. "This was certainly our game to win today," Kjemperud. "The Swiss are very good players, especially at the net. Vegard's service game was the difference as he had the Swiss scrambling and they never got into their game."

Playing in their 112th international event together, the Norwegians scored a 21-12 and 21-18 win over 13th-seeded Pedro Cunha and Pará Ferreira of Brazil in their first match Saturday. "This result could not have come at a better time heading into Austria next week and the Olympics next month. I'm excited since our season had been a disaster until this weekend."

Entering this weekend's event, Kjemperud and Hoidalen had placed 13th or lower in nine of their 10 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour starts this season by winning only 17 of 37 matches. This was after winning 60 of 100 matches the previous two seasons, including a 38-21 record last season.

Also advancing to Sunday's semi-finals was seventh-seeded Franco Neto and Tande Ramos, who upset third-seeded Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Araujo 15-21, 21-13 and 15-12 in an All-Brazil affair. Franco and Tande opened play Saturday by defeating 15th-seeded Francisco Alvarez and Juan Rossell of Cuba 21-14, 16-21 and 15-13.

It marked the second-straight week that Franco and Tande had played Benjamin and Marcio Araujo for a spot in a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour semi-final. Last Saturday in Marseille, Benjamin and Marcio Araujo's win over their Brazilian rivals helped in their successful bid for the France title and their first gold medal of the season together.

Benjamin and Marcio Araujo still have a chance to Sunday's semi-finals as they will play the winner of the match between second-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil and 24th-seeded Julius Brink and Kjell Schneider of Germany.

The winner of the match between the fifth-seeded Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) of Switzerland and 11th-seeded Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack of Australia will challenge Heuscher and Kobel for the last "final four" berth.