Macau, China, August 24, 2011 - Reigning world champions Russia held off a late surge of Thailand to score an opening 3-1 victory (25-18, 25-22, 25-27, 25-17) on Wednesday in the final round of the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix.
With obvious advantage of height, the Russians covered the net excellently, limiting the attacks from Thailand at the beginning of the first set. Thailand adjusted their strategy with more backcourt spikes that helped them to cash tight behind Russia. However, Ekaterina Gamova, with tip-over spikes, quickly brought back Russia and took the control of the first set.
Malika Kanthong and Wilavan Apinyapong combined efforts to help Thailand bring the second set closer. The adjustments on their attack strategy successfully cut down the point deficit and even helped them take the lead at two TTOs. Russia focused on the powerful smashes and solid blockings to oppose this upswing from Thailand. From 22-22, the Russians made bombardment of attacks from the wings, which Thailand failed to stop.
Going down by two sets, Thailand fought bravely to step back. They displayed tight floor defence, allowing hitters to perform more attack strategies that break the solid blocking from Russia. The excellent blocking and an ace serve from Pleumjit Thinkaow helped Thailand overcome Russia and leveled one set back at 27-25.
The Russians regained momentum and strengthened the coverage over the net. In addition to that, Russia found weak side on Thailand’s court and reinforced the attacks on that area, finishing the game by the score of 3-1.
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