'Sweet Victory for Walsh and May'

Gstaad, Switzerland, June 21, 2003 - Defending champion Misty May and Kerri Walsh of America gained a "sweet victory" over Brazilian rivals Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires Tavares on Saturday by defeating them in the final of the Women's Gstaad Open, the second stop of the 2003 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
The Americans, last season's World Tour champions, won a close first set 23-21 before securing the gold medal with 21-15 triumph in the second, making amends for their loss to the new Brazilian partnership in the semifinal of the Rhodes Open last weekend.
The bronze medal went to Brazil's Adriana Brandao Behar and Shelda Kelly Bruno Bede after they defeated American wildcards Jennifer Jordan and Annett Davis 21-15, 21-15.
"That was a sweet victory, I think we played better than we did when we met them in Rhodes and they perhaps weren't as strong today," said the 6' 2" Walsh, who also won the Speedo Most Valuable Player Award.
After an exciting and closely fought first set, the Americans' dominance at the net and superb defense allowed them to get on top the Brazilians who started to show signs of a lack of teamwork having only been together as a team for two events.
"They are a very strong serving team so you can't give up points to them," said May, holding an ice pack to an inured left shoulder that had been bothering her all week. "We came in with a game plan and I think we executed it well and followed it through.
"The pain in my shoulder is an ongoing thing, but it's not going to make me miss any tournaments. Our goal this year is to qualify for the Olympics (Athens 2004) and we'll do whatever it takes."
Sandra Pires and Ana Paula formed their partnership just two days before last week's World Tour event in Rhodes. After their semifinal victory, Ana Paula showed concern for their lack of teamwork and admitted that it had affected the outcome of the final.
"Our team work was not quite what it should have been and our individual talents were not enough to win this game (the final)," said Ana Paula. 
"We were aware that this lack of communication could let us down soon and it did in the final. But I also take a lot of comfort from the fact that we know there is much to improve.
"When we left Greece we had no time to practice before this event and it's unlikely we'll be able to do that until we return to Brazil after the event in Norway in a couple of weeks time."
May and Walsh reached the final after defeating Adriana Behar and Shelda 25-23, 17-21, 15-12 in the semis on Saturday morning while Sandra Pires and Ana Paula overcame Jordan and Davies 21-15, 26-24.
The women's 2003 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour moves on to Germany next week for the Berlin Grand Slam, the first grand slam event of the season.

SWATCH-FIVB World Tour - Men's Open, Gstaad 
Home Favorites Through to Last 16

Gstaad, Switzerland, June 21, 2003 - Swiss brothers Martin and Paul Laciga progressed to the last 16 of the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour's Men's Gstaad Open on Saturday morning after safely negotiating their remaining pool match against Estonian qualifiers Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik.
The sibling team, who finished fourth on last season's World Tour rankings, defeated Kais and Vesik 21-19, 21-15, although Paul Laciga admitted they were still not totally happy with their game on what was a productive morning for the Swiss.
The result moved the pair into first spot in Pool C after Canada's Jody Holden and Conrad Leinemann defeated Sweden's Bjorn Berg and Simon Dahl - victors over the Lacigas on Friday - 21-19, 13-21, 15-13.
"It was very important we won that match to get through, but some things are still not working 100 per cent," said Paul Laciga, who at 32 is four years older than Martin.
"We do not necessarily feel pressure because we are playing in our home tournament, it is more because our game is not working very well - that's what causes the pressure."
The popular Swiss duo defeated Holden and Leinemann 22-20, 21-16 in their first pool tie on Friday, before losing 22-20, 21-15 to Berg and Dahl.
"That (Sweden) was a terrible game for us," added Paul Laciga, winner of the Mallorca and Cadiz Opens with his brother last season. "I hope we have learnt from it. Our jump serving was either into the net or out. The altitude affects the ball, but we have to adapt to it like everyone else."
The Lacigas are joined in the last 16 by their compatriots Stefan Kobel and Patrick Heuscher after they eased past Norway's Bjorn Maaseide and Iver Andreas Horrem 21-15, 21-11 to finish top of Pool D with a 100 per cent record.
Sascha Heyer and Markus Egger round off a good morning for the Swiss by also topping Pool H following their 21-18, 21-19 victory of Stephane Canet and Mathieu Hamel of France.
Other unbeaten teams through to the last 16 include defending champions and 2002 World Tour champions Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde, who were given a bye after Swiss wildcards Bernhard Vesti and Marcel Gscheidle withdrew through injury.
They are joined by unbeaten Austrians Nikolas Berger and Clemens Doppler, Canada's John Child and Mark Heese and Brazilian pair Benjamin Insfran and Marcio Henrique Araujo.
Germany's Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann won a tight match against Francisco Alvarez and Juan Miguel Rossell of Cuba 22-20, 18-21, 15-11 to finish top of Pool F.

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