Ekaterina Gamova led Russia with 26 points, while Sanja Malagurski came up with 23 for Serbia. Russia outblocked Serbia 16-9.
2011 FIVB Volleyball World Grand
Serbia won the first three points of the match on good work by Milena Rasic, but coach Zoran Terzic hauled his girls off court after they dropped the next five. Substitute setter Ana Antonijevic looked a bit rusty in the opening stages and Serbia helped Russia with a couple of poor service receptions. Brizitka Molnar sent down a pair of decent spikes but Russia's Lesya Makhno responded with some bombs through the Serb defence. After two great blocks by Iulia Morozova gave Russia an eight-point lead at 18-10, Terzic called another timeout. Russia kept rolling on and ended up scoring nine unanswered points that put them 12 points up at 22-10. A spike by Morozova brought up setpoint and the same player put Russia 1-0 up with a slick spike.
Russia continued to stop Serbia's offence with excellent blocking at the start of the second set and they were three points ahead at the first technical timeout. Malagurski came up with a couple of bombs to drag Serbia back into the contest, but Terzic called his players off court after more sloppy play and three more dropped points. At 11-14, Serbia finally moved into top gear. Molnar delivered a couple of smashes and Malagurski had a big hit that gave Serbia the lead at 15-14. More Malagurski magic saw Serbia to a two-point lead at 21-19 and again at 22-20 and 23-21. A great block by 19-year-old Nadja Ninkovic on Makhno handed Serbia setpoint and Molnar drew the teams level at 1-1 with a powerful kill.
Serbia carried over their form into the third set with Malagurski again on target and Milena Rasic contributing a great block on the dangerous Makhno. Molnar made consistent contributions in attack and helped Serbia to a 16-12 lead at the second TTO, but Terzic had to call his players off court after they went off the boil and allowed Russia to regain the lead. His decision to bring back first-choice setter Maja Ognjenovic also brought more focus to the Serb attack, but it was the blocking of Jelena Nikolic that restored Serbia's lead at 20-18. Russia levelled again at 20-20, but a big blast by Malagurski put Serbia ahead for good. Setpoint came from a neat short set by Ognjenovic to Rasic and the pair repeated the trick to seal the set and give Serbia a 2-1 lead.
A couple of nice tipovers by Rasic gave Serbia an early advantage in the fourth set, but Maria Borisenko responded with a good block on Molnar and two well-placed push shots as Russia edged into a four-point lead at 11-7, when Terzic called a timeout. Russia extended their lead to six points, aided at one point by a brilliant left-handed smash from setter Anna Matienko that brought a rare smile to coach Kuzyutkin's face. Russia extended that to seven points, but three straight spikes by Molnar and a missed set by Victoria Kuzyakina reduced Russia's lead to three. Merkulova then steadied the ship and brought up setpoint with a spike that was blocked out. A long hit by Serbia's Tijana Malesevic then sent the match to a tiebreaker set.
Both teams racheted up the intensity at the start of the fifth set, but three points by Gamova – one on a fortunate serve – gave Russia the advantage and at 7-3 Terzic called a timeout. He called another one two points later after a great block by Fateeva on Malagurski gave Russia a six-point advantage. A seven-point Russian streak came to an end when Gamova plonked a serve into the net, but by then it was all over. Malagurski fired off three final bombs, but a spike by Nataliya Goncharova brought up matchpoint at 14-7 and Gamova finished things off with a big hit.