|BERLIN, GERMANY, June 27, 2004 - Playing their ninth match since Thursday, 14th-seeded Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina captured the bronze medal here Sunday afternoon in the US$600,000 Smart Grand Slam.
In defeating top-ranked Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil 21-12, 16-21 and 15-12 in 52 minutes, Baracetti and Conde shared the $23,000 third-place. While not reaching the podium for the first time in seven SWATCH-FIVB World Tour starts this season, the Brazilians split $18,500 for fourth-place.
"We are glad with our result this week, especially since we had to play so many matches," said Conde claiming their second-straight Berlin podium placement. "Playing the Brazilians is always tough. We played well after our first match Thursday."
Both teams dropped semi-final matches Sunday morning to the gold medal finalists as Baracetti and Conde were defeated 21-18, 23-25 and 15-12 in 78 minutes by third-seeded Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckerman of Germany. The Laciga brothers of Switzerland scored a 16-21, 21-16 and 15-13 win over Emanuel and Ricardo in 61 minutes.
Like the Lacigas (Martin and Paul), the Argentineans had to reach the semi-finals by winning six-straight eliminations after dropping their first contest Thursday to a team from the United States. With a 7-2 mark, Baracetti and Conde reached the podium for the third-straight Smart Grand Slam after placing second in Berlin the past two years.
Baracetti and Conde have now advanced to three SWATCH-FIVB World Tour "final fours" this season in eight starts. The Argentineans netted bronze medal in March's Brazil event and a silver medal in Puerto Rico two weeks ago. Sunday's win over their South American rivals was Baracetti and Conde's first in four meetings between the two teams.