Russia were led by Ekaterina Gamova with 18 points, while Thailand’s top scorer was captain Apinyapong Wilavan with 14 points.
2011 FIVB Volleyball World Grand
Russian outblocked Thailand 17-5, but the Thais outserved Russia 7-4.
The Asian champions fielded the players who overpowered Cuba on Saturday and they were cheered on by around 4,000 fans at Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium.
Once again, the Russians’ dominant height advantage was decisive, as they were able to establish a solid block and attack aggressively at the net. With Gamova puncturing the Thai defence with her explosive spikes, Russia raced to a commanding 16-6 lead. The Thais were cheered on loudly by the crowd, but the much taller visitors proved to be too strong.
Russia took control again in the second set, with Nataliya Goncharova unleashing a series of sharp spikes to help her team lead 15-9. The Russian girls continued with their mighty attacks and were soon 23-19 ahead. Thailand coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai asked for a timeout to improve his team's fortunes, but it didn’t make any difference as Russian closed the set at 25-19.
The third set was more thrilling with the hosts playing cool volleyball under pressure. Thailand gradually pulled their game together point by point. At 19-19, Thailand moved ahead and had four setpoints from 24-20. However, Russia played exceptionally and stormed back to catch the hosts at 24-24 and again at 25-25 before winning two straight points to clinch the victory.