Bangkok, Thailand, August 16, 2009 – World champions Russia annihilated Puerto Rico in straight sets 25-16 25-17 25-19 to make a clean sweep in the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix preliminaries Pool I.
The scintillating victory was a sweet revenge for the Russians, who succumbed a bitter 1-3 loss to the same rivals in the last week’s Pool F battle in Osaka, Japan.
The three-time winners Russia did not compete last year, but came much stronger this time. Against debutantes Puerto Rico, Russia, whose height average is 187cm, relied mostly on their exceptional offence led by the tall and towering 202cm-tall Ekaterina Gamova. Russia took the first set effortlessly 25-16.
Puerto Rico tried to challenge seriously in the second set, with Aurea Cruz and Alexandra Oquendo uncorking a barrage of sharp spikes. However, Russia was just in top form. Gamova punctured the rivals’ defence with her powerful cross-court spikes to win the set 25-17, again with ease.
After going down 0-2, Puerto Rico maintained their poise. They came up with a lot of deceptive drops and fast spikes to come close at 14-17. Russia made use of two time-outs to improve their form and fortunes. Their attempts worked out pretty well when Russia stormed back with the mighty attacks to stretch the lead to 22-18. They stormed on to win the set 25-19 and the comfortable match.