Brazil stay unbeaten with 3-1 victory over Russia in Grand Champions Cup
The win saw Brazil raise their record to 4-0 for 12 points while Russia dropped to 1-3 and stay on four points.
It was the third time Russia and Brazil have met in the World Grand Champions Cup, but the first time Brazil have won. But Russian maintains a 28-22 lead in all FIVB events.
Fernanda Rodrigues was the top scorer in the match with 17 points, including four blocks and three aces, while Fabiana Claudino added 14 with four blocks. Natalia Pereira and Sheilla Castro each contributed 13 points.
Natalia Malykh led Russia with 16 while Liubov Shashkova added 13.
Brazil outblocked Russia 15-10 and had nine service points to Russia’s four. Russia committed 22 errors to Brazil’s 21.
The Russians started the match brightly and were three points ahead at the first technical timeout, but coach Iury Marichev had to call a timeout when Brazil drew level at 10-10 after some good spiking by Adenizia Silva. A fine block by Iulia Morozova on Natalia Pereira saw the Russians two points ahead at the second TTO. They extended their lead to three points after a bad mixup on the Brazilian side of the net, after which Brazil coach Ze Roberto called a timeout. Three points later, Brazil failed to deal with a serve by Ekaterina Pankova and Ze Roberto called his players off court again. Blocks by Anastasia Shiyakhovaya and Liubov Shashkova helped extend Russia’s lead and Brazil didn’t help themselves with three late errors as Russia clinched the first set 25-18.
Brazil came back strong at the start of the second set, getting blocks from Natalia, Adenizia and Fernanda Rodrigues as they rushed into a 5-1 lead and Marichev called a timeout. The Russians were out of sorts and Brazil led 8-1 at the first TTO after a long shot by Natalia Malykh. But Malykh made up for that error by leading Russia’s revival with three excellent kills and a service ace that helped narrow the gap to just one point, when Ze Roberto called a timeout. Fernanda sent down a big hit followed by two service aces and Marichev hauled his players off court again. Fernanda then completed a hat trick of aces as the Russians failed to return her serve once again. Brazil were six points ahead at the second TTO and faced no trouble in taking the set, with a lame half-shot from Shashkova hitting the net to level the match at 1-1.
Marichev called a timeout after his team dropped the first four points of the third set, but his players responded well and were level at 6-6. Brazil moved into a three-point lead at 10-7, but Russia came back to lead 11-10, prompting Ze Roberto to call a timeout. Malykh again came to the fore for Russia as they moved into another lead at 15-12, but Brazil got a couple of good blocks from Fabiana Claudino and Fabiola Sousa and the scores were level again at 16. Two Malykh missiles drew the two teams level at 21 but a tipover by Walewska Oliveira and an ace by Natalia put Brazil in the driving seat. Sheilla Castro fired a shot down the right line to earn setpoint and a tipover by Fernanda put Brazil 2-1 up.
Both teams committed errors early in the fourth set but Brazil had the advantage and were three points up at the first TTO. Russia’s Natalia Dianskaya came up with two terrific blocks to level the scores at 9-9 but Brazil’s Natalia responded with a block of her own on the big-hitting Shashkova and followed up with blistering kill to open up a three-point lead at 12-9, bringing a Russian timeout. Russia closed to within a point at 14-13, but Brazil had a three-point cushion again at the second TTO. That became four points after a neatly disguised tipover by Fabiola and Brazil were able to cruise to the end of the match. Fernanda earned Brazil five matchpoints with a huge thump and a Walewska blocked Victoria Chaplina to end the match.