| Russia roll past Serbia |
The World No.7 improved their second-round record to 6-0, while Serbia, the 2006 bronze medallists, dropped to 3-3 knowing they still sit in a three-way race with Japan and Korea for the second top four semifinal spot.
Russia’s leading scorer in the tournament, Ekaterina Gamova, top-scored with 18 points while captain Jelena Nikolic topped Serbia’s scoring with nine in a match which represented Russia’s second win in as many matches in an FIVB competition against the World No.9 and their 10th from 10 overall when including USSR against Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montentegro.
FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page
Russia took an early lead at the start of the match, but good spiking by Serbia's Nikolic brought the scores level at 4-4. Both teams were spiking well from the off – Natasa Krsmanovic for Serbia and Tatiana Kosheleva for Russia. Although Serbia had a one-point advantage at the first technical timeout, they didn't help themselves with successive serving errors. There was no more than a point between the two teams from 3-2 to Russia to 12-11, when Russia scored the first block point of the day – Maria Perepelkina stopping a shot by Brizitka Molnar to put Russia 13-11 up. Serbia coach Zoran Terzic promptly called his team off court, but Russia extended their lead by a further two points. Serbia could get no closer than two points, and a service ace by Gamova brought up set point, which was converted when Kosheleva blocked Nikolic.
A tipover and a piledriver by Gamova, as well as two excellent blocks by Perepelkina saw Russia streak to a six-point lead at the first TTO. After a setting mixup saw Russia's lead increase to 10-3, Terzic called a timeout and Jovana Brakocevic responded with two fine spikes. Russia's strong serves also forced reception errors by Serbia and the 2.02m Gamova and the excellent Liubov Shashkova took advantage of this, spiking Russia to a 10-point advantage at the second TTO. Meanwhile, Perepelkina continued her good blocking, a fine stop on Brakocevic making the score 23-8. Nataliya Goncharova smashed Russia to set-point and a towering thump by Gamova put Russia 2-0 up.
Gamova started off the third set with a big block on Brakocevic, another huge spike and a cleverly placed winner. Russia also continued to defend well and they eased out to an 8-4 lead at the first TTO. After a magnificent block by Evgeniya Startseva on Brakocevic and a wide spike by Stefana Veljkovic, Terzic called a timeout. Veljkovic immediately sent another spike wide and another service reception error allowed Shashkova to slam down one more big spike. Terzic called another timeout, but the in-form Russians continued to outscore Serbia. Goncharova spiked her team to match-point and it was all over when a Brakocevic spike failed to clear the net.
photos Janos Schmidt