Men's competition, Rio de Janeiro
From 21 September To 26 September 2004

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European Champions Gain 2nd SWATCH-FIVB World Tour Brazilian Semi-final
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 24, 2004 - Germany's Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann like playing on Brazilian sand as the 2004 European Champions earned their second "final four" berth in this South American country here Friday with two Beach Volleyball match wins.

Seeded fifth in the $360,000 Banco do Brasil Open, Dieckmann and Reckermann posted back-to-back victories over teams from Brazil to match their effort at the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season opener in March for men in Salvador when they won four of five matches to reach the semi-finals.

After scoring a 24-22 and 21-19 win in 52 minutes over Marcio Araujo and Benjamin Insfran, Dieckmann and Reckermann posted a 21-19 and 21-17 win in 46 minutes over ninth-seeded Fabio Magalhães and Paulo Emilio Silva, who had defeated Olympic Champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos earlier Friday.

"It will be different this time," said Dieckmann after the match as he had to forfeit the semi-final and bronze medal match in Salvador due to his lingering abdominal strain injury. "I feel good this time, and you can write it in the press release that I will be playing Saturday."

Dieckmann and Reckermann were on top of the Beach Volleyball world at the start of June when the Germans captured the European Champions followed by a second and first in the next two SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stops in Switzerland and Berlin, respectively.

"Things were going very good for us at the start of June," Dieckmann added. "We did not play that badly going into the Olympics, but we could not maintain the level of play that brought us great success in early June. We were disappointed with our Olympic finish. Hopefully, we can end the season with a medal finish here."

After qualifying as the fourth-ranked team for Athens, the Germans protected their seed by winning their pool with a 2-1 record. However, Dieckmann and Reckermann were upset by Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger of the United States to place ninth.

"We just had trouble maintaining our consistency entering Athens," Dieckmann noted. "It has been a long season with a lot of pressure for all the teams. We look forward to the off-season, but first we have an excellent opportunity to finish the year on a high note."

Third-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel, the Athens bronze medallists, were playing seventh-seeded Harley Marques and Fred Souza of Brazil for another "final four" berth with the loser joining Magalhães and Paulo Emilio with another chance to gain a semi-final spot.

A mixed gender stop, the Banco do Brasil Open is the final event on the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. The women's semi-finals will be played Friday afternoon with four Brazilian teams in the "final four." The men's medal matches end the event Sunday on Copacabana Beach.