Russia opened their FIVB Volleyball World Championship campaign with an emphatic 25-8, 25-11, 25-10 victory over Mexico in their Pool B clash on Tuesday in Sapporo.
The European powerhouses used their superior physical presence and court-craft to overwhelm the Mexicans, who simply ran out of ideas against their taller opponents to go down in less than an hour.
The Russians stormed into a 9-2 lead in the first set, dominating the net with their superior height and technical skills, though the enthusiastic Mexicans made them work hard for every point.
However, as the Russians piled on the points, Mexico were unable to find any sort of rhythm and failed to take advantage of the few attacking opportunities that came their way.
The Russians hardly raised a sweat as their lanky attacker Ekaterina Gamova made life difficult for the Mexican defenders. Russia needed only 15 minutes to win the first set 25-8.
Mexico came out for the second set a transformed team showig much more determination and willingness to work hard. The Mexicans actually led 8-7 at the first time-out with the dynamic Migdalel Ruiz at the start and end of several successful attacks.
Russia soon reasserted their superiority, winning the next nine points to go into the second time-out with a 16-8 lead, with Maria Bruntseva providing some crucial smashes.
The Russians extended their points-run to 10 in a row before Mexico finally added to their scoreline at 17-9. Mexico had the consolation of reaching double figures for the first time in the match as Gamova produced a sharp spike to give Russia the set 25-11.
The third set saw the Russians take a 9-2 lead as Mexico appeared to be running on empty after their brief period of domination in the second set.
Apart from a few clever attacking moves, the Mexicans were unable to deal with Russia's power-serves and height at the net.
Natalia Kulikova's smash was touched out by a Mexican defender on the final point to give Russia victory.