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Serbia book 5-8 semifinal spot

Korea's Yeon-Koung Kim attacks for one of her 11 points but it was Serbia who picked up the vital win in straight sets
Tokyo, Japan, November 10, 2010 – Serbia booked themselves a place in the 5-8 semifinals with a straight-sets (25-17, 25-22, 25-16) win over Korea in their last second-round match of the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship on Wednesday.

The win ensures that Serbia, bronze medalists in 2006, cannot finish worse than fourth in Pool E. The third and fourth-placed teams in Pool E will play the fourth and third-placed teams in Pool F in the semifinals. Korea, meanwhile, were left to await the outcome of the Turkey v Poland match before knowing their fate. Jovana Brakocevic top-scored for Serbia with 15 points while Hyo-Jin Yang was Korea’s best with 13 points. It was Serbia’s second win in as many matches against their Asian opponents in all FIVB tournaments.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

In the first set, Serbia maintained leads of two or three points most of the way, thanks to some sneaky saves by Suzana Cebic and spikes by Jovana Brakocevic. With a chance to climb within one, Korea chased all over the court to save the ball three separate times in one rally, only to see Serbia's Maya Ognjenovic nail a spike into open space. Serbia extended their lead to 22-16 after a block and spike by Jelena Nikolic. Brizitka Molnar’s blistering top-spin serves gave them five points in a row, and a 25-17 set win.

In the second set, Yeon-Koung Kim’s block winner and spike inspired South Korea’s four-point run to 8-5. Serbia bounced back to level the set at 13-13, and then surged into a 23-18 lead. South Korea inched back to 23-20 after Hyo-Jin Yang’s two service aces, but Serbia’s front line found holes in the centre of Korea’s cover and Brakocevic’s spike gave them a 25-22 set.

In the third set, South Korea again played well early, taking advantage of misses by Milena Rasic and Nikolic to lead 4-2 and then 8-6 after a hard-fought rally. Molnar’s spike evened the set at 9-9, and Yang missed a spike wide to give Serbia the lead. South Korea again couldn’t handle Molnar’s serve, and three straight aces made it 14-11 to Serbia, until she bailed them out with a miss wide. Natasa Krsmanovic’s clever tip fooled South Korea’s defence, as Serbia took command 21-14 and then 23-14. Serbia’s dominance at the net proved the difference, as they wrapped up the set 25-16.

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