VOLLEYBALL MANHATTAN BEACH OPEN : Favorites Advance to Semifinals

Two of the hottest teams in pro beach volleyball cruised through their opening-round matches Saturday in the $60,000 Manhattan Beach Open.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly and partner Brent Frohoff lost only 10 points in their four matches, and defeated Scott Ayakatubby and Wally Goodrick, 15-3, to reach this morning's semifinals.

Top-seeded Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos also advanced to the semifinals, beating Leif Hanson and Eric Wurts, 15-5. Smith and Stoklos dropped only nine points on the day.

"We're fresh, confident, and at the top of our game," said Stoklos, who in 1981 was one of the youngest champions at Manhattan when, at 20, he won with Jim Menges.

"Beach volleyball is an endurance sport, so the teams that are the freshest will have the best chance (today)," Stoklos said. "When you get tired you make mistakes, and that's how you lose matches."

Smith and Stoklos will meet Kent Steffes and Dan Vrebalovich in one semifinal. Kiraly and Frohoff will face five-time Manhattan Open champions Mike Dodd and Tim Hovland in the other. Both matches begin at 9 a.m. Kiraly and Frohoff have finished at least second in all five tournaments they have played this season.

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