Macau, China, August 28, 2011 – World Grand Prix newcomers Serbia beat Russia in straight sets to win the bronze medal in the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals at Macau East Asian Games Dome on Sunday.
In front of 3,200 fans, the CEV European League champions Serbia won 25-21, 25-20, 25-16 in 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Serbian Jovana Brakocevic was the game’s top scorers with 17 points, while Natalya Goncharova earned 10 points for Russia.
It was Serbia who started the opening set stronger and found themselves leading 8-5 at the first TTO with Jovana Brakocevic's thundering her serve to win an ace. However, a series of unexpected serve-errors gave a chance for the Russians to shorten the windows with one point behind their opponents. The awe-inspiring spikes from Brakocevic and Sanja Malagurski, who had already proved to be a menace , helped Serbia keep on course and begin to take control. Before long the Serbians extended the advantage pushing the score from 11-9 to 16-9. The Russians used a 4-0 run to pull within 23-21 after a block on the Serbian wing spike, but the Serbians carried the lead till the end of the set.
Serbia jumped into the second set aggressively leading 4-1 with Malagurski particularly to the fore who stroke three successive sharp spikes from the wing, forcing the Russian coach to call a timeout. However, Russia did not lose touch with the Serbians and countered attack with two concrete blockings on the Serbian side leaving two points behind. Serbia powered on again as Malagurski continued her unstoppable spikes which helped enlarging the margin to 22-16 and Milena Rasic took another set in favor of Serbia with a middle hitting.
The Serbians carried their momentum from the previous set and gained the advantage at 5-1 early on. Serbia quickly jumped ahead to 19-10 and maintained the lead as Russia began to lose their concentration. Followed by two powerful back-court attacks, the Serbians finished the game with an ace serve and won the bronze medal over Russia.