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Russia forced to work hard for first victory
Russia needed a tie-break to do it, but claimed their first win of the 2013 World Grand Prix with an exciting 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 29-27, 28-30, 15-13) win against Poland.
Despite being on the losing side, Poland captain Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata topped the match scorers with 41 points.
Russia started the match strongly but Poland kept the score close. Towards the end of the first set, Russia improved their level slightly and won the set 25-21.
The second set started really even once again, however this time it was Poland jumped ahead towards the end, closing out the set 25-22, with opposite spiker Skowronska prominent with powerful spikes and 10 points.
In the third set, Russia took an early lead and went to the second technical time-out with a four-point lead at 16-12. The end of the set was dramatic, but Russia took the set 29-27 on a block to lead the match 2-1.
Poland started better and went 10-5 ahead in the fourth set, but Russia upped their game to lead 16-14 at the second technical time-out 16-14. Another dramatic ending saw Poland win the set 30-28 and sent the match into a tie-break.
Skowronska was again prominent for Poland in the tie-break, but Russia were really strong throughout the deciding set, winning it 15-13 to take their first 2013 victory 3-2.
Nataliya Goncharova (20) was Russia's top points scorer, and was well supported by Irina Zaryazhko (16).