Macau, China, August 26, 2011 – Russia looked very relaxed in their win against final round hosts China 3-0 (25-21, 25-11, 25-23) in Pool A round robin play of the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix at the Macau East Asian Games Dome on Friday.
Natalya Goncharova and Ekaterina Gamova combined for a total of 43 points, almost outscoring the whole Chinese team who produced a scoring output of 45 points.
Russia’s tactic on the first set was to go to their usual gunner Natalya Goncharova while China opted for well-distributed scoring from Hui Ruoqi, Yang Junjing and Ma Yunwen. The Russians took an early advantage as China was missing Wang Yimei’s scoring game. Russia took good care of guarding Wang’s attacks, as she was limited to just one point in the set. Russia easily finished the set without major challenge from China at 25-21.
Russia varied their attacks from drop shots to strong kills that made it difficult for China to decipher. Russia appeared to be the more mobile team than China. China struggled to execute an attack due to the poor reception of the Russian serve. Wang had to be substituted to change the weakening trend in their offense but that could not stop the Russians from taking the second set.
China finally regrouped and matched the intensity that the Russians showed in the third set. The crowd was delighted with this improvement and cheered on for every point that China made. Russia tried to pull away at some point but did not go without a challenge from the Chinese team towards the end of the set as they cut the Russian lead at 24-23, but the final break was still with Russia to take set and match.
Russia will join Serbia, Brazil and USA in the semifinals to be played on Saturday, 27 August.