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Press release

Battling Russia silence cheering home crowd with tie-break win over Thailand


Thailand's Pleumjit Thinkaow and Wilavan Apinyapong block an attack from Russia's Tatiana Kosheleva

Bangkok, Thailand, August 18, 2013 – World No.6 Russia came from behind to beat determined Thailand in thrilling hard-fought five-set thriller 24-26 25-18 25-22 20-25 15-11 in their last Pool L encounter in the FIVB World Grand Prix at the Hua Mark Indoor on Sunday.  

In a near-flawless match of Thailand, Onuma Sittirak scored a match-high 26 points including 21 attack hits from 53 determined attempts and four powerful jump serves. Nataliya Goncharova led Russia with 31 points which included 24 devastating spikes. She also led the blocking and serving skills with four and three points apiece.

Cheered on lustily by the nerve-wracking drum-beating home fans of more than 7,000 in the full-house competing venue, Thailand stormed back from trailing 2-5 in the beginning of the opening set. Onuma and Wilavan Apinyapong became nightmares of the visitors when they took turns overcoming the taller blockers with their powerful attacks to help Thailand close the margin 17-17. From then on, both sides exchanged aggressive attacks. At 24-24, Onuma exhibited her exceptional talent to tear the Russian defence apart with her sharp cross-court spikes to win successive two points for the Thailand’s first-set win 26-24.

Smashing machine Nataliya Goncharova and hard-attacking Tatiana Kosheleva gave the world No.6 a successful comeback in the second set. With Goncharova overcoming the small blockers with her devastating spikes and Kosheleva attacking from the back row, Russia took the 21-15 lead. They never looked back since then, allowing the host side three more points to wrap up the set 25-18.

The third set was more thrilling when both sides entertained the big crowd with their incredible determination and brilliant form. Russia fared well under pressure. They attacked, blocked and boosted, using all what they had. Their greater determination was handsomely rewarded when Russia clinched the hotly-contested set 25-22.

Holding a 2-1 advantage, Russia maintained their poise, but things did not go their ways. Thailand won their home fans’ hearts with their guts and spirit to lead commandingly 10-4 before Russia stormed back to tie 16-16. The hosts put their acts together, with Onuma and Wilavan continuing their attacking onslaughts. Thailand took the thrilling set 25-20.

In the action-packed decider, both sides played up to their standards. Thailand recovered from trailing 1-5 to tie 7-7. Russia went on aggressive attacks to win the tie-break 15-11 and the grueling match.

With the hard-fought 3-2 win over the hosts, Russia had registered their straight seven wins in the World Grand Prix. They also improved their World Grand Prix win-loss record against Thailand to 9-0. However, the overall 19 points were not enough to carry them for the Finals in Sapporo, Japan.  




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