Stare Jablonki, Poland, September 9, 2007 - With their third gold medal and fourth podium Mazury Open appearance secured, Brazilians Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos look forward to returning to the Szelag Maly Lake resort next season in preparation for defense of their Olympic title next year.
“We love playing here,” said Emanuel after he and Ricardo posted a 21-17 and 21-14 win in 38 minutes over fifth-seeded Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina to share the US$32,000 first-place prize at the US$200,000 Mazury Open Presented by Hotel Anders, the 16th stop on the 2007 men’s SWATCH-FIVB World Tour.
“We look forward to returning here next year on journey to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,” said Ricardo, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player at the fourth annual event. “The fans appreciate the competition, and the promoter and his staff treated us great. It is such a relaxing spot until the competition begins on the court. We are very pleased with this win, especially since it was over a rival team from South America.”
In securing their 29th SWATCH gold medal and 30th FIVB title since the formation of their partnership at the end of the 2002 season, the top-seeded Emanuel and Ricardo were defeating Baracetti and Conde for the 12th time in 13 international Beach Volleyball meetings. The Brazilians also defeated the Argentineans Friday 21-12 and 21-18 in a winner’s bracket quarter-final match.
Sunday’s win also gave Brazil a 14-8 lead in SWATCH gold medal meetings with Argentina. Emanuel and Ricardo defeated Baracetti and Conde for the third-time in three FIVB gold medal meetings. The first title victory over the Argentineans was Emanuel and Ricardo’s first-ever SWATCH crown together in 2003 at Stavanger, Norway. The second title win was in Argentina over Baracetti and Conde at a 2005 FIVB Satellite stop at Buenos Aires.
“I think the difference today was the physical style of play from the Brazilians,” said Baracetti, who shared the $22,000 second-place prize with Conde. “We are not a physical team, so we have to overcome their strength with a consistent side out. We did not accomplish that today.”
The winningest team in men’s SWATCH history with 48 podium placements and $1,520,430 in earnings for 69 FIVB events, Emanuel and Ricardo also top the qualifying list for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with 5,140 points for their best eight finishes on the international Beach Volleyball circuit. Qualifying for next August’s Summer Games continues through July 20, 2008.
In the All-Brazilian bronze medal match, second-seeded Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes rebounded from a three-set semi-final setback to Baracetti and Conde to defeat third-seeded Pedro Cunha and Franco Neto 21-16 and 21-15 in 51 minutes. In sharing $16,000 for third-place, Marcio Araujo and Fabio defeated their Brazilian rivals for the second-time this week and the ninth-time in 13 SWATCH meetings.
Cunha and Franco, who dropped the 2006 Mazury Open gold medal match to Emanuel and Ricardo in three sets, split $12,000 for fourth-place. Like Emanuel and Ricardo, Franco was appearing in his fourth Mazury Open medal match as he and Tande Ramos lost the 2004 gold and 2005 bronze medal matches to Emanuel and Ricardo.
Emanuel, who notched his 113th career Beach Volleyball title Sunday, and Ricardo join the rest of the Brazilians in hosting the next SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event at the end of September (25-30) in Fortaleza for a double gender event.