Walid Ben Abbes and Semen Poltavsky battle at the net
November 18, 2006, Sendai, Japan — Third-ranked Russia bounced back from an opening day loss to Serbia-Montenegro with a 3-0 win over Tunisia on Saturday.
The Russians looked more like a team that has won the world championships six times as they beat the 17th-ranked Tunisians 25-15, 29-27, 25-20 in Pool D.
With the 3-0 reverse to Serbia-Montenegro still fresh in their minds, the
Russians didn’t mess about in securing an early advantage against the spirited Tunisians, who beat South Korea in five sets on Friday.
Captain Semen Poltavsky was in a more commanding mood than the previous day, with his early serves carrying a little more sting. It was behind Poltavsky’s howitzers that Russia went into the first TTO 8-2 ahead.
Pavel Abramov on the wing and Alexander Volkov in the center then started to find their range with some crashing spikes and extended Russia’s lead to 16-8 at the second technical break.
The 205-cm Poltavsky really had the bit between his teeth and his range of spikes, arching them from deep and then snapping them at a 45-degree angle close to the net, moved Russia closer to clinching the first set.
Noureddine Hfaiedh spiked long to give Russia set point and after saving one the Tunisians succumbed to huge winner from Poltavsky to close out the set 25-15.
Vocal libero Amine Besrour was valiantly trying to rouse the Tunisian troops at the start of the second set and they responded in kind. A brilliant block by captain Ghazi Guidara put them 7-6 ahead and they won the next point to go into the first TTO two-points ahead.
Although Russia clawed back to get to the second TTO 16-14 in front, it was a much closer set than the first and the Tunisians proved so by pushing their opponents to 27-27.
Then, after numerous set points had gone to waste — including one for the Tunisians — that man Poltavsky popped up again with a block and deep spike to win the second bracket.
A stylish Serguei Grankine service ace put the reds of Russia 14-10 ahead in the third set and they kept a four-point advantage up to the second TTO.
But the Tunisians refused to lie down and a Chaker Ghezal winner followed by Aymen Ben Brik’s block moved the score to 21-20.
But the Russians held on and two successive spikes ruled long from Hichem Kaabi gave the Russians the set, 25-20, and the match.