|SALVADOR, BRAZIL, March 20, 2004 - Argentina's Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde had their chance against top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, but the Brazilians rebounded from a first set defeat here Saturday morning to capture the Beach Volleyball semi-final match in the US$180,000 Brazilian Open here Saturday morning.
Played in near 90¦F temperatures with the humidity over 60 percent, the 61-minute match saw the Brazilians advance to Sunday morning's gold medal final against Switzerland with a 19-21, 21-18 and 15-9 win over Baracetti and Conde, who had to win five elimination matches Thursday and Friday to advance to the semi-finals.
The reoccurrence of an abdominal strain sidelined Markus Dieckmann of Germany from Saturday's first semi-final match where he and Jonas Reckermann had to forfeit to sixth-seeded Stefan Kobel and Patrick Heuscher of Switzerland.
After seeing the first set tied seven times, Baracetti and Conde grabbed the lead for good with a side out and a point on serve at 12-11. The second set was tied five times with the Brazilians take the lead for good with a side out and ace by Emanuel at 19-17. The third set was not close as the Brazilians scored nine points on serve and led 8-1 and 13-5.
While Baracetti was blaming himself for doing "it wrong in the third set my using his power instead of thinking," Ricardo felt his back problems were "breaking" his concentration during the match. However, the tall Brazilian felt playing Saturday will be an advantage against the Swiss Sunday since his team "hasn't lost our rhythm."
Emanuel noted that the opposition "always start each match at full pace" while his team attempts to stay focus for the long haul. "Baracetti and Conde played well at the start today, but the difference was we started to increase our intensity level as the match progress, while they get weaker and started making mistakes at the start of the third set."
Entering the men's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season opener as the top-ranked team in the world, Emanuel and Ricardo will be looking for their first-ever win over the Swiss tandem. Kobel and Heuscher defeated the Brazilians twice last season with wins in Switzerland (June 20, 16-21, 21-18 and 15-13) and Austria (August 2, 17-21, 21-13 and 15-13).
With the men playing an international event in Salvador for the first-time, the Brazilian Open Main Draw continues through Sunday on the centre court in front of the Catussaba Resort Hotel where the gold medal team shares the $27,000 first-place prize.