|SALVADOR, BRAZIL, March 21, 2004 - Four three-set matches in a row probably ended Markus Dieckmann's play in the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season opener this weekend, but the fit German looks forward to traveling to South Africa Monday to begin preparations for another Beach Volleyball event.
The reoccurrence of an abdominal strain for Dieckmann led to the forfeiture of his final two matches with Jonas Reckermann, including Sunday's scheduled bronze medal match against 11th-seeded Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina in the US$180,000 Brazilian Open.
While also forfeiting Saturday's semi-final sixth-seeded Stefan Kobel and Patrick Heuscher of Switzerland, Dieckmann and Reckermann still finished fourth to split $11,000. Baracetti and Conde, who dropped a 19-21, 21-18 and 15-9 semi-final decision to top-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil Saturday, shared $14,000 for the bronze medal.
With the men playing an international event in Salvador for the first-time, the Brazilian Open concludes Sunday on the centre court in front of the Catussaba Resort Hotel where Emanuel and Ricardo are challenged by Kobel and Heuscher for the gold medal and the $27,000 first-place prize.
"I hope to play this coming week in Cape Town," said Dieckmann after his early morning breakfast. "I just didn't feel right when I awoke Saturday and I don't want to continue to aggravate this injury anymore. I'll travel to South Africa and will attempt to practice Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the event. If I am pain free, I will attempt to play Thursday when the Main Draw starts."
After opening with a two set win over a team from Estonia, Dieckmann and Reckermann had four-straight three-set matches against teams from the United States and Brazil. Emanuel and Ricardo handed the German's their first loss 11-21, 21-11 and 15-11 before Dieckmann and Reckermann advanced to the "final four" with a 20-22, 21-16 and 15-12 win over Tande Ramos and Franco Neto of Brazil.
The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour returns to South Africa for the first-time since 1996 as South Africa hosts teams from 28 countries on the sands of Camps Bay. Both South African SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events were won by Brazilians. Emanuel and ZeMarco de Melo on the 1995 Cape Town event Guilherme Marques and Pará Ferreira won the 1996 Durban.
Following the South Africa stop, the men's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour takes a break until May 19-23 when China hosts its first men's international event in Lianyungang. Other Olympic qualifying events prior July 11 will be in Serbia and Montenegro, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Germany, Norway and Canada.