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Malagurski powers Serbia past Algeria

In her first proper start for Serbia, Dragana Marinkovic and her 1.97m frame proved a real handful for Algeria at the net as the 28-year-old top-scored with 10 points along with Sanja Malagurski

Tokyo, Japan, November 2, 2010 - Undefeated Serbia kept their momentum going against Algeria on Tuesday, notching their fourth win (25-15, 25-12, 25-21) from as many matches at Yoyogi Stadium in the first round of the FIVB Women’s World Championship. Clearly outclassed on the day, Algeria continued to struggle in a tough Pool A, their fourth consecutive loss extinguishing any hope the African champions had of qualifying for the second round.

Serbia were led by Sanja Malagurski and Dragana Marinkovic with 10 points each while Algeria’s Faiza Tsabet and Zohra Bensalem scored eight points apiece. For Algeria, all eyes turn to their final match of the tournament against Poland on Wednesday to see if they can at least win their first set of the competition, while Serbia can look forward to a meeting with the hosts Japan.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

Serbia were in control from the start, going ahead of Algeria early on. Algeria managed some counter-attacks on the left with Bensalem dropping some good attacking spikes but Serbia kept their composure, going 15-10 up after an ace from Maja Ognjenovic that Bensalem could not pick up. Jovana Brakocevic was prominent in attack throughout the set, racking up seven points including a spike that gave Serbia set point. Marinkovic finished it off at 25-15 with a tip at the net.

The second set was a little closer early on, with Bensalem continuing to catch the eye and her spike took Algeria to within one point of Serbia at 8-7. But solid attacking play by Milena Rasic and good serving from Jovana Vesovic took Serbia on a 7-1 points run to take control at 15-8. Outstanding blocking by Marinkovic in the tramlines, including a great effort to thwart Safia Boukhima, helped the girls in blue take the set 25-15 for a comfortable two-set lead.

Serbia appeared unfocused at the start of the third set, allowing Algeria to take a slight lead with Lydia Oulmou tipping over the net to put the Africans 8-4 up, a lead they managed to extend to 12-6 after a block by Tassasit Aissou on Vesovic. But Serbia eventually woke up, taking eight of the next nine points thanks to a flurry of unstoppable attacks from spiker Sanja Malagurski to go 14-13 ahead. Algeria stayed close until late on, when they were plagued by errors. Amazingly Malagurski scored all her 10 points in the final set, driving Serbia to victory at 25-21.

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