November 19, 2006, Sendai, Japan — Fourth-ranked Serbia-Montenegro stormed past Tunisia in straight sets Sunday to book their place in the second round.
The team that finished just outside the medals at the 2002 world championships won 25-21, 25-12, 25-23 to stay perfect in Pool D.
Tunisia has now won one and lost two, but still has a chance of making it out of the group.
Sitting out this one was star player Ivan Miljkovic, but captain Nikola Grbic and Goran Vujevic were back on court for Serbia-Montenegro after coach Igor Kolakovic had rested them on Saturday.
Their presence added a little guile to the undoubted power of the fourth-ranked team and a combination of both had them two ahead at the second TTO.
The Tunisians were less vocal at the beginning than in their previous matches and appeared to be suffering from a touch of stage fright, but they soon came out of their shell with some excellent blocking.
But Serbia-Montenegro were able to vary their spikes, not least from the vintage Vujevic who smashed home a steep spike to give his team set point and clinched it with another to center court.
Marko Podrascanin faked and tipped in a cheeky point at the net to move Serbia-Montenegro 6-3 ahead in the second set and they kept that gap intact at the first TTO.
A Vujevic smash knocked libero Amine Besrour off his feet to move Serbia-Montenegro 9-6 ahead and they continued to stretch their lead, heading into the second TTO 16-8 in front.
The Tunisians buckled, and then broke. Winners left and right reined down on them and Vujevic stepped up at set point again to make it 2-0.
A massive block from Nikola Grbic moved his side 6-3 ahead in the third set and a little dink from Novica Bjelica brought the first TTO with a four-point cushion for the leaders.
Hosni Karamosly was working away at net and he spiked strongly to make it 9-6 and Khaled Belaid scored two in a row to reduce the gap to one point.
The Tunisians weren’t giving up and reached the second TTO 16-14 in front, but the resilient Serbia-Montenegro came straight back at them.
A massive serve from Bjelica proved too hot for the Tunisians to handle and that put the score at 20-18 in Serbia-Montenegro’s favor. Podrascanin then got to the ball first in a dual at the net and his side moved to within two points of victory.
Dejan Bojovic set up match point with a huge spike that was unblockable and although the plucky Tunisians saved two, the third was claimed with monster diagonal spike — again from Bojovic.