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 Match info | Description
A great show ends with Serbia defeating Thailand in four sets

Serbian girls celebrating after their victory
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, July 5, 2009. In the most awaited match of the third competition day Serbia defeated Thailand 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-11, 25-20) after a beautiful show that featured two completely different way of playing and conceiving volleyball.
The atmosphere got completely weird in the Mall Convention Center as the Thai girls started off their match against the tall and physically strong Serbians who had previously totally outclassed both Germany and Egypt. The stands were completely packed and featured again two small orchestras, an endless series of flags as well as a group of employees of the mall who were tirelessly dancing and supporting the local heroines in their campaign for international glory. The Serbians enjoyed a more solid start and led the way at the first break (8-6) but the Thais were dramatically striving for all balls, displaying an amazing performance in reception, with libero Aree standing out as the real star along with captain Sutadta as Thailand changed gear and took convincingly over the control of the operations (19-16). The Thais demonstrated extraordinary skills also in the serving area, with a few jump serves steadily dismantling the self-confidence of the Serbian receivers and the silver medalist of the last European Championships were also hampered by a series of silly unforced mistakes (22-19). It was certainly not easy to play in such an ambiance, even though the Thai spectators were always extremely fair and did not prevent a flawless flow of the game. The first set was over in about 23 minutes for the delight of the local fans as nr 18 Promrat stamped a majestic block to close out this section of the game.
The game was as tight as possible in the opening of the second set: Serbia faced serious problems in reception and struggled to score, mainly because the Thais were saving all balls, thus incredibly prolonging all rallies in a way nobody else might try to emulate. However, the girls from Belgrade were not keen to give up that quickly and eventually clinched a mini-break right before the second technical break (16-12) to stay well tuned into the game. That was a decisive step forward with the set eventually ending at 25-21 with a diagonal spike for Serbian star Sara Klisura.
The offensive solutions of the Serbians – especially the high balls – started working out perfectly in the third set: Bjelica, Jocic and Klisura regularly smashed well over the Thai block and also in reception the hosts were no longer able to maintain the dazzling rhythm and efficiency they had displayed in the first set. The general perception was that the Thais had been playing beyond their own limits but were not yet ready to keep up at this level for the whole match (16-9 for Serbia). Even though coach Kulchim tried out to invert this negative trend with a few substitutions, the set was quickly over at 25-11 for the Serbians with an ace of Aleksandra Jocic.
It looked like the Serbian express was likely to speed away also in the fourth set, but suddenly the reception of the European silver medalists lost consistency and Thailand – with the cheerleaders never stopping to fire up the audience – bounced back strongly and re-gained the lead. At 12-10 for the hosts, the Serbian coach changed captain Radenkovic with back-up setter Jelena Medarevic and her girls scored 4 points in a row to chill the Thai enthusiasm. The final section of the set was more than breath-taking: after continuous overturns, Serbia bagged up the match and the first place in Pool A.   
 
  

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