|SALVADOR, BRAZIL, March 18, 2004 - After qualifying for the Main Draw, Kristjan Kais and Rivo Vesik of Estonia made a "name" for themselves here Thursday by winning two of three matches in the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season opener for men.
After dropping a 21-10 and 29-27 decision to fourth-seeded Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann of Germany, they scored upset wins over teams from Germany and Switzerland to guarantee their best-ever finish on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
Highlighting the Estonians play Thursday's was a 21-17 and 24-22 win in 37 minutes over the third-seeded Laciga brothers of Switzerland, who had fallen into the elimination bracket earlier in the day after losing 22-20 and 21-16 to Tande Ramos and Franco Neto of Brazil.
Joining Kais and Vesik as survivors of Thursday two elimination rounds are teams from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Norway, Spain and the United States. In addition to the Lacigas, other highly-seeded teams eliminated Thursday were fifth-seeded Dain Blanton/Jeff Nygaard of the United States and 10th-seeded Sascha Heyer/Markus Egger of Switzerland.
One of the teams surviving Thursday's final elimination matches was eighth-seeded Nikolas Berger and Clemens Doppler of Austria, the 2003 European champions. After splitting a pair of matches with teams from Germany, Berger and Doppler overcame Brazilians Fabio Magalhães and Paulo Emilio Silva 21-18 and 23-21.
You can't take anything for granted on this tour," said Berger after the final match Thursday. "In the beginning of the match, neither team was playing well. We came back from behind in the first set and we knew Fabio was getting tired as they came from the country quota playoffs and qualifying."
Friday's play opens with four matches in the third-round of the winner's bracket where host Brazil has three teams competing along with two tandems from Germany, and one team each from Cuba, Switzerland and the United States. Eighteen matches will be played Friday with four teams advancing Saturday's semi-finals. The medal matches will be played Sunday where the Gold Medal team wins the $27,000 first-place prize.