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Four teams stay unbeaten and on track for final four

Captain Dmitry Kovalev celebrates Russia's toughest win so far
Uberlandia, Brazil, October 8, 2013 - Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Brazil all kept their unbeaten records intact on day three of competition in the Men's U23 World Championship at the Arena Presidente Tancredo Neves.

Russia overcame their toughest test yet with a 3-1 (22-20, 15-21, 21-17, 21-12) win against Iran in the first match on court. Russia stole the first set after being set-point down and then lost the second before recovering to take victory.

Middle blocker Ivan Demakov (5) led Russia's net defence as they accumulated a final team total of 15 blocking points, the highest in the tournament so far. "Blocking is one of the main elements in our style of play," said Demakov. "I'm glad we were able to use it well and achieve this victory. This was a very hard game for us."

Also in pool B, Serbia maintained their unbeaten record with a straightforward 3-0 win (21-18, 21-14, 21-19) against Mexico. Heavy hitters Uros Kovacevic and captain Aleksandar Atanasijevic were rested, but opposite Dusan Petkovic, who finished as Serbia's top scorer with 11 points, still insisted that Mexico forced Serbia to play at a "very high level". 

After defeats against pool B's strongest three teams, Mexico coach Jorge Miguel Azair Lopez said he wasn't worried about the results. "Since we learned about our pool we knew this was all about learning and developing the team. We're trying to figure out which of these players can make it into the senior team."

In pool A Bulgaria maintained their 100% record against Tunisia, winning 3-0 win (30-28, 21-18, 21-12) despite a tough start to the match. After five-set matches in the previous two days Tunisia were unable to keep up their level of play and Bulgaria eased away from their opponents towards the end of the match. 

Tunisia captain Mohamed Arbi Ben Abdallah consolidated his position as the tournament's top scorer with another 14 points, taking his individual tally to 61 from three matches. 

Brazil were the last of the four teams to defend their unbeaten record, which they did with a 3-0 (21-9, 21-15, 21-16) win against Egypt to keep them on track for the final four in their home tournament.

Even without captain Lucarelli, they had little trouble dealing with Egypt, especially when they had their error count under control. Middle blocker Matheus Cunda contributed attacking points, but was also the leader of Brazil's net defence, picking up five blocking points for the match.

In other pool matches, Argentina recovered from defeat to rivals Brazil, but were made to work very hard for a 3-0 (21-14, 27-25, 24-22) win against the Dominican Republic in the final pool B match on court. 

After a comfortable first set, the Dominican Republic pushed Argentina all the way and had set points in both remaining sets before losing out. Dominican Republic captain Luis Adames Figueroa led his team brilliantly with 15 points while opposite Henry Tapia Santana contributed 14. 

In pool A Venezuela claimed their first victory with a 3-1 win (21-15, 21-13, 28-30, 21-19) against Australia. Middle blocker Emerson Rodriguez contributed 13 to Venezuela's total, including four blocking points, and was very happy with the result after losses against pool heavyweights Serbia and Russia.

"After two very demanding matches, we were looking for this victory today. We showed some great spirit on the court and we were very united. Now we're very close to the next round, which is our goal in this tournament."

Day four of competition is the penultimate round of pool matches with Russia again first on court, up against Australia at 9:00 (local), then crucial pool B match Iran v Serbia at 11:00, and Venezuela v Mexico at 14:00. In pool A it's Egypt v Argentina at 16:30, then Brazil v Bulgaria at 19:00, and finally Tunisia v Dominican Republic at 21:30.

2013 Men's U23 World Championship Performances

Top Scoring Performances
29 - Ahmed Elkotb of Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
28 - Aleksandar Atanasijevic of Serbia v Venezuela (October 6)
26 - Mohamed Arbi Ben Abdallah of Tunisia v Egypt (October 7)
24 - Lincoln Alexander Williams of Australia v Venezuela (October 8)
21 - Mohamed Arbi Ben Abdallah of Tunisia v Argentina (October 6)
21 - Rafael Araujo of Brazil v Argentina (October 7)
21 - Pablo Kukartsev of Argentina v Brazil (October 7)

Top Blocking Performances
6 - Ivan Postemsky of Argentina v Brazil (October 7)
5 - Rafael Araujo of Brazil v Dominican Republic (October 6)
5 - Saman Faezi of Iran v Mexico (October 7)
5 - Omar Hassan of Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
5 - Ivan Demakov of Russia v Iran (October 8)
5 - Matheus Cunda of Brazil v Egypt (October 8)

Top Blocking Performances by Team
15 - Russia v Iran (October 8)
13 - Iran v Mexico (October 7)
12 - Serbia v Venezuela (October 6)
12 - Argentina v Tunisia (October 6)
12 - Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
11 - Venezuela v Australia (October 8)
11 - Dominican Republic v Argentina (October 8)
11 - Argentina v Dominican Republic (October 8)

Top Serving Performances
6 - Ahmed Elkotb of Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
3 - Mojtaba Mirzajanpour of Iran v Mexico (October 7)
3 - Dmitry Kovalev of Russia v Venezuela (October 7)

Top Serving Performances by Team
7 – Russia v Mexico (October 6)
7 - Egypt v Tunisia (October 7)
6 - Tunisia v Argentina (October 6)
6 - Russia v Venezuela (October 7)
6 - Serbia v Mexico (October 8)
5 - Iran v Australia (October 6)
5 - Brazil v Dominican Republic (October 6)
5 - Bulgaria v Egypt (October 6)
5 - Iran v Mexico (October 7)

Highest Scorers by day
28 - Aleksandar Atanasijevic of Serbia v Venezuela (day 1, October 6)
29 - Ahmed Elkotb of Egypt v Tunisia (day 2, October 7)
24 - Lincoln Alexander Williams of Australia v Venezuela (day 3, October 8)

Highest Set Score
30-28 Australia v Venezuela (3rd set, October 8)
30-28 Bulgaria v Tunisia (1st set, October 8)

Highest Scoring Matches
193 - Brazil def Argentina 3-2 (19-21, 16-21, 22-20, 21-17, 19-17) day 2, October 7
179 - Tunisia def Egypt 3-2 (21-19, 21-17, 18-21, 19-21, 15-7) day 2, October 7
178 - Argentina def Tunisia 3-2 (21-14, 21-18, 13-21, 19-21, 16-14) day 1, October 6
168 - Venezuela def Australia 3-1 (21-15, 21-13, 28-30, 21-19) day 3, October 8


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