Macau, China, August 25, 2011 – Serbia was victorious over stunned Russia in four sets (20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-21) in Pool A of the 2011 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix finals on Thursday, unleashing Jovana Brakocevic’s attacking power to clinch an upset victory over the world champions as round robin play continued.
Brakocevic scored a total of 25 points for her side while Russia’s Natalya Goncharova’s output sealed the same amount for the world No.5.
Teams Serbia and Russia were evenly matched in terms of its scoring dynamism. and the first set duel was an exchange of strong attacks exchanged between powerhouse spikers Brakocevic and Goncharova. It was only late in the match when Russia reached top gear to engine to finally pull away from their European rivals. Serbia’s consecutive errors on reception, attack and service handed the set to captain Maria Borisenko’s team.
In the second set, Serbian captain Jelena Nikolic helped improve her team’s attacking powers as they began to attack with better efficiency and outscore the helpless Russian side early on. Serbia built a commanding lead thanks to an assault of on the Russian block – a problem which remained unresolved by the Russians. Brakocevic poured in more unstoppable spikes and got help from her teammates in defence as they drew even at 1-1.
Russia came out determined in the third set and took an early advantage before Brakocevic dragged her side back into the game, turning the frame on its head. The Serbians were surely happy with the come-from-behind victory in the third set. There were no clear signs that Serbia would take the set due to Russia’s dominance at the start of the set until Brakocevic’s attacking onslaught that completely turned around the match in favour of the Serbians. Despite the best efforts of 2010 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship MVP Ekaterina Gamova, Russia could not stop the Serbian from fighting back as they watched them take a 2-1 lead.
Serbia continued with good attack to illustrate their strength in both attack and defensive movement that can be attributed to their control of the fourth set. Russia made some last minute runs but it was not enough to spark a turnaroundand a win of the set. Finally, Brakocevic ended the set and match with a powerful hit on the right flank as her side moved a step closer to a semifinal place in their tournament debut.