Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, August 5, 2011 – World champions Russia kicked off their 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix campaign with a magnificent come-from-behind 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-23, 25-20) victory over Cuba in Pool B at the Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium on Friday.
The world No. 5 team used their height advantage to attack Cuba aggressively and take an early 7-4 lead, with 202-cm Ekaterina Gamova's sharp cross-court spikes proving effective. World No. 8 Cuba clawed their way back, penetrating the Russian defence with fast spikes to catch up at 9-9 and cruise into a 21-13 lead. Russian head coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin asked for time-out to improve his side's erratic play. His decision bore fruit and his players came back with some deadly attacks and solid blocking to score six straight points and narrow the gap to 19-21. But Gamova hit wide at the end and Cuba took the opening set 26-24.
2011 FIVB Volleyball World Grand
The Russians regained their composure in the second set and Gamova was once again the backbone of the team, spiking spectacularly and blocking well. Cuba tried hard to refrain from the unforced mistakes shown earlier in the set but could not match the mighty attack from Russia, who clinched the set 25-18.