Fukuoka, Japan, November 15, 2009 – Brazil defeated Thailand 25-22, 25-20, 25-18 on the final day of the FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup 2009 on Sunday to keep alive their hopes of claiming the gold medal. Their final placing, with one loss out of five matches, will be determined following Japan's match against unbeaten Italy in the evening. Thailand, who were particpating in the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup for the first time, finished the tournament with five losses out of five.
Sheilla Castro was the top scorer for Brazil with 17 points, while Malika Kanthon led Thailand with 13.
A pair of receiving errors and a long service by Brazil offered early hope to Thailand that they could get something out of this game, but after falling behind 7-4, the Brazilians showed their power and were ahead 8-7 at the first technical timeout. A few errors marred the Thai resistance heading toward the second TTO and the Brazilians were quick to capitalize on them, moving into a 16-11 lead. Brazil's blocking was also starting to have an effect, but the Thais were in a positive frame of mind and ace attacker Onuma Sittirak was back doing what she does best: hitting power spikes. At one point, she whacked down three big ones, and a spike by Pleumjit Thinkaow followed by an ace by the same player brought Thailand to within a point of the Olympic champions at 20-19. Thailand were staying close on merit, but Brazil had just a little too much power to allow the Thais to become a danger. Sheilla landed a spike for setpoint and a tipover by Carol Gattaz sealed the set.
The second set did not start off so well for Thailand. Spiking errors by Sittirak, Kanthong and Amporn Hyapha allowed Brazil to cruise into a 6-0 lead until a big thump by Sittirak stopped the rot. Sheilla got the Brazil ball rolling again with two good hits and they were 8-3 up at the first TTO. The Thais got good hits from Thinkaow, Hyapha and captain Wilavan Apinyapong and were able to keep the margin stable at the second TTO (16-10) and even close the gap as the set drew on, but the hill was still too steep to climb. A block by Sheilla on Kanthong brought setpoint at 24-20 and the same player spiked Brazil to a 2-0 lead.
The pattern of the first two sets was repeated at the start of the third set: The Thais trying to resist and Brazil – mainly Sheilla – preventing them from doing so. Brazil moved into a 10-4 lead, the Thais pulled back to 12-8, the Brazilians moved ahead to 16-10, and so on. Soon, the Brazilians were 10 points ahead and there was an air of inevitability on the court. At 23-16, Ana Tiemi Takagui made a block to earn matchpoint and after two more Thai points, Sheilla finished the match with a characteristic thump down the line.