Rhodes, Greece, June 7 - Brazilian top seeds Benjamin Insfran and Marcio
Henrique Barroso Araujo moved into the semi-finals of the Men's Hellas Open
on Saturday after downing compatriots Harley Marques Silva and Franco Jose
Vieira Neto 21-18, 17-21, 15-7 in a hard-fought encounter.
The experience of Benjamin and Marcio, ranked number two on last year's
SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, paid dividends in the tie-break, which ultimately
proved one set too many for their opponents who had been forced to play an
extra four games in qualifying.
"It's always difficult when you play against other Brazilians because we
know each other so well from our national tour," said Marcio.
?We were a little tired from playing in Copacabana last week and also from
the flight over, but perhaps it showed more for Franco and Harley - it's
tough to make it through qualifying and then get so far in the main draw.?
Benjamin and Marcio have been together since 1999, during which time they
have won four World Tour events, their last coming at the Fortaleza Open in
their home country last season.
the 31-year-old Marcio was also quietly confident their partnership could go
all the way in Rhodes if they manage to win their semi-final on Sunday.
"We've had a tough draw so far and I think we will be up against tough
opponents in the semis, but if we manage to win that then I think we have a
good chance of taking the title."
Earlier on Saturday, in the last 16 round, the pair had also faced Brazilian
opponents, defeating Ricardo Alex Costa Santos and Emanuel Rego 23-21,
21-18, while Harley and Franco won their tie against American wildcards Paul
Baxter and Carl John Henkel 24-22, 21-10.
In all, Franco and Harley played nine games in four days and were unbeaten
until their quarter-final loss.
Benjamin and Marcio will now face the winners of the quarter-final match
between Canada's Mark Heese and John Child and Swiss brothers Martin and
Paul Laciga, which will played late on Saturday evening.
In the other quarter-final completed, Americans Jeff Nygaard and Dain
Blanton, winner of the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, defeated
Swiss pair Sascha Heyer and Markus Egger 21-18, 21-17. They will play the
play either the Austrian duo Nikolas Berger and Clemens Doppler or Jorre
Andre Kjemperud and Vegard Hoidalen of Norway.