|Espinho, Brazil, June 6, 2004 - World Champions Ricardo and Emanuel added yet another title to their collection when they won the 2004, Swatch - FIVB World Tour Portugal Open in Espinho on Sunday.
Facing Norwegians Vegard Hoidalen and Jorre Andre Kjemperud in the final, the Brazilians were on fire, running out 2-0 (21-12, 22-20) winners in a 38 minute match played in perfect conditions for Beach Volleyball.
Racing into a 10-2 first set lead, the Brazilians battered their opponents with astounding blocking from Ricardo and exceptional digging from his playing partner Emanuel. Meanwhile, the Norwegians failed to produce the solid service game they needed against the world's best team and the gap continued to widen.
Improving dramatically in the second set, Hoidalen and Kjemperud managed to stay in touch with the eventual winners, however, with the score at 16-14, a crucial moment arrived when Ricardo rose to produce a thunderous spike that appeared to crush the Norwegians resolve and from that point the outcome seemed inevitable.
"The Brazilians played a perfect first set," a lethargic Kjemperud said after the game. "They didn't make any mistakes and their block and defence game was unbelievable. We got frustrated and made a lot of mistakes but that was totally their set, the Norwegian went on to say. "In the second set I thought we had a good opportunity to beat them but Vegard was very unhappy with his serving and we needed a solid service game to win against these guys. Serving is normally our biggest weapon and we agreed that we needed that to push them away from the net."
Commenting on the exhaustion he and his playing partner felt during the match Kjemperud said, "Before this game we played 18 sets in the tournament and I was feeling really tired. Vegard felt the same and that was a key factor for us."
It wasn't all bad for the Norwegian pair, however, as the Portugal Open represented a return to form for them. "I'm very, very happy to have finished second," said Kjemperud. "This result gives us confidence before the Olympics and I'm just thrilled we managed to get back to our best form here."
Before picking up his winners medal, Emanuel paid tribute to the team he and Ricardo had just beaten. "Today was like a battle for us because we played against two warriors," the Brazilian stated. "They played many games here and they get all of my applause because they performed well in every match. They came into the final lacking a little bit of stamina and we really pushed them hard at the beginning before they had a chance to settle."
In the day's earlier game, Brazilians Benjamin and Marcio Araujo claimed the bronze medal after defeating Germany's Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann by 2-0 (21-16, 21-15).