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 Match info | Description
Serbia to play Cuba in semis after win over Russia

Belgrade, Serbia, July 24, 2009 - A prestigious match between two great opponents, Serbia and Russia, decided first place in Pool E with both teams already secure in the knowledge that they had obtained berths in the 2009 World League semifinals.
Serbia beat Russia 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 25-21) to finish first the Pool and set up a meeting with Cuba, while Russia will have the daunting task of playing Brazil for a shot at reaching the final.
After 26 minutes of play, Serbia won a difficult first set 25-23 thanks to some brilliant play. Perhaps a little bit unexpectedly, Serbia also won the second set by the same score. The third set ended with the same result, only this time Russia was victorious after 25 minutes of excellent play from both teams. The fourth and final set was claimed by Igor Kolakovic's team to seal the win and first place in the standings.

The match started on even footing with both teams trading points until the first technical timeout, with Russia leading 8-7. Russia took a 2-point advantage at 11-9 before stretching it to 16-13 at the second TTO.
But Ivan Miljkovic broke through the Russian defense to win Serbia’s 14th point and Andrija Geric's great serve leveled the score at 18-18. Serbia then took the lead (23-20) with some successful serves from Borislav Petrovic. Miljkovic smashed home for the first set point, which wasn't realized. But the second one was, again thanks to Miljkovic. Serbia’s Milos Nikic was the top scorer of the set with 6 points in 12 attempts.  

Serbia continued with the same enthusiasm from the previous set, winning the first two points. Russia battled back to make it 7-4 and took an 8-6 lead into the first TTO. Russia regained its 3-point advantage (12-9) thanks to an ace from Maxim Mikhaylov, but Serbia stepped it up to level the score at 12. Russia came out of the second TTO with a 16-14 advantage, but were soon trailing 17-16 thanks to a successful serve from Marko Podrascanin and a block from Nikola Grbic. Kolakovic called a timeout at 20-20 and Serbia won the next point. That set the stage for captain Grbic to achieve set point, which Evgeny Sivozhelez
spiked out to give Serbia a 2-0 set lead.
Daniele Bagnoli’s team took a slight advantage (5-4) early in the third frame, and led 8-5 at the first TTO. Three straight points for Russia (11-6) led Kolakovic to call a timeout. But this time the Russians held on to the lead, pushing the score to 15-12 before Bagnoli signaled for a timeout. The Blue Boys of Serbia took advantage of the break and came back to within a single point, 17-16. At 21-21, Nikola Kovacevic made a service error to hand Russia their first set point, which they realized on the next point.

Russia led 3-0 and 7-4 in the fourth frame, but some terrific serves from Grbic turned things around and Serbia held an 8-7 lead by the first TTO. The score continued to seesaw from there on in, but Serbia maintained its lead, 16-15, heading into the second TTO. Serbia took a 23-19 lead after several excellent serves from  Miljkovic. At 24-20, Serbia had the first match point, but they were unable to realize it. The match finally ended 25-21 for Serbia, with Miljkovic winning the final point.


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