Kyoto, Japan, June 26, 2016 – Tall and towering Serbia pulled off a pulsating straight-set 25-18 25-20 25-20 victory over gallant Thailand at their last 2016 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Preliminaries Pool I match at the Shimudzu Arena Kyoto in Japan on Sunday.
It was the Serbia’s first win over Thailand in five years. The European giants beat the Thais for the first time in 2011, but the latter stormed back to win the next three matches in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Thailand also narrowly beat the Serbians 3-2 at the Montreux Volley Masters in Switzerland early this month.
From start to finish, the Sunday’s match turned out to be an easy affair for World Cup silver medallists Serbia, whose height average is 187cm against the Thais’ 174cm. The Serbians, spearheaded by Brankica Mihajlovic and Jovana Brakocevic, never allowed the world No.13 a chance to work their way into the match.
Serbia were in control from the get-go opening the match with a 5-1 lead. Despite occasional lapses in concentration from the European powerhouses, Mihajlovic was able to lead her team to a convincing 25-18 win in the first set.
The second set looked much better for the Asian side as hard-attacking Ajcharaporn Kongyot came up with explosive attacks. Nonetheless, it was not enough against the devastating Serbians. Brakocevic’s aces coupled with Mahajlovic’s powerful mid-court attacks led Serbia to a 25-20 win in the set.
It was almost the similar fashion in the third set as the battle was tense from the beginning. At 14-14, Serbia broke away to 16-14. Thailand tried to regain their composure, with Wilavan Apinyapong, Ajcharaporn and Hattaya Bamrungsuk attacking aggressively to win some crucial points for the team. However, Serbia tightened their defence, allowing the Thais difficulties to score from then on. As the Serbians were leading 24-20, Mihajlovic spiked down the line to make it 25-20.