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 Match info | Description
Serbia sets up final with Brazil with semifinal win over Cuba

Belgrade, Serbia, July 25, 2009 - Serbia defeated Cuba 3-1 (18-25, 25-13, 25-21, 27-25) in the second 2009 World League semifinal on Saturday to book their place in Sunday's final against Brazil.
The young Cuban team somewhat unexpectedly took the first set by a significant 7 points. Serbia bounced back to beat the Cubans 25-13 in the second frame and never looked back. Serbia, buoyed by a great home crowd at Belgrade Arena, was the better team and deserved the victory. Cuba will now face Russia for the bronze.

Cuba took a quick 6-1 lead at the beginning of the first set. Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic called a timeout in an attempt to stabilize his team. By the first technical timeout Cuba was still ahead, 8-3. A series of points for Serbia followed, and the team closed the gap to 10-8. At the second TTO Cuba had a 3-point advantage. After the break, the Cubans continued playing well and prevented Serbia from catching up. Stretching the advantage to 7, Cuba secured the first set.

The Cubans were the first to serve in the second set. The teams trade points until 6-6 when the host team found its rhythm to take an 8-6 lead, thanks to excellent serves from Milos Nikic. After the first TTO, Serbia continued in the same vein, stretching the advantage to 6 points. The 'Blue boys' held the lead until the second TTO, 16-9. Owing to excellent serves, attacks and blocks, Kolakovic's side achieved the biggest advantage in the set, 21-10, and the hosts held on for a comfortable win. Ivan Miljkovic was the top scorer in the frame with 11 points on 29 attempts.

The teams were tied at 4-4 in the third set when the Cubans took the initiative, taking a 7-4 lead. By the first TTO Cuba enjoyed a 2-point difference. Serbia stayed close and leveled the score at 13-13. After a successful serve, Miljkovic smashed through the block and won an extremely important point for Serbia. At the second TTO Serbia had a 1-point advantage. Towards the end of the set, the "Blue Boys" continued with the same enthusiasm, winning the set. Both teams gave their best and the fans were treated to a fabulous game.

The Cubans won the first serve to open the fourth set. But Serbia won the next4 points and took a 3-point lead into the first TTO. Cuba succeeded in tying the score at 13-13 and little separated the teams for the rest of the set. As the breathtaking play continued, it was Serbia who reached the first match point, but did not realize it. The hosts made no mistake on their third match point with a successful attack from Bojan Janic.

  

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