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

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Franco & Tande's Work Nets 40th All-Brazilian SWATCH-FIVB Gold Medal Match
STARE JABLONKI, POLAND, July 25, 2004 - Seventh-seeded Franco Neto and Tande Ramos scored a 21-15 and 21-18 win over top-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland here Sunday in the 38-minute second semi-final of the US$180,000 Mazury Open to set up an All-Brazilian gold medal match.

Being played before a standing-room-only crowd of 3,000 with another 1,000 Beach Volleyball fans on the grounds of the Hotel Anders, Franco and Tande will challenge second-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos in the finals of the 12th SWATCH-FIVB World Tour men's event this season.

Emanuel and Ricardo scored a 21-19, 23-25 and 15-12 win in 67 minutes over 21st-seeded Jorre Kjemperud and Vegard Hoidalen of Norway in Sunday's first semi-final match at the Hotel Anders' centre court stadium.

The gold medal match marks the second-time this season and the 40th-time in 159 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events that two teams from Brazil will play for an international title. Franco and Tande defeated Emanuel and Ricardo 27-25, 14-21 and 15-12 in the March 28 finale in Cape Town, South Africa.

"This is the best we have played since South Africa," Franco noted. "I think we frustrated the Swiss guys and they never got any rhythm going in the match. We are playing with a lot more confidence and our decision-making is a lot better this week.

With five-straight wins this week with Tande, Franco looks forward to playing Emanuel and Ricardo. "We always like playing other Brazilians for FIVB gold medals. They are the No. 1-ranked team and the word. It should be a good match. I know one thing, I will have to ready since they will serve me a lot."

Except for the defeat in South Africa, Emanuel and Ricardo have won the other three matches this season against Franco and Tande, who have now earned their fourth medal this season in 11 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events together this season.

Playing in their 22nd international event together, Emanuel and Ricardo have now advanced to their 12th gold medal match since forming their partnership at the end of the 2002 season. The Brazilians have won nine SWATCH-FIVB World Tour titles, including the 2003 FIVB World Championships last October in Rio de Janeiro.

The No. 1-ranked team on the Olympic qualifying list for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Emanuel and Ricardo will be seeking their fifth gold medal this season after winning earlier in Brazil, Serbia and Montenegro, Portugal and Norway.

Sunday's gold medal winners will share the $27,000 first-place prize with the loser splitting $18,000 for the silver medal finish. The international circuit ends pre-Olympic play next week with another mixed gender event in Klagenfurt, Austria.