2017 FIVB VOLLEYBALL WORLD GRAND PRIX – GROUP 1 SEMIFINALS
- Group 1 Semifinals
- August 5th, 2017
- Nanjing, China
- FIVB World Grand Prix, Semifinals Match #1
Brazil has more-than-once looked down-and-out at this year’s FIVB World Grand Prix, but a young, novice team continues to come through big at crucial moments. That happened against on Saturday in Nanjing, where Brazil, who started the tournament just 3-3, upset group stage winners Serbia 3-1 to advance to the final.
Brazil def. Serbia 3-1 (20-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-23)
For Serbia, the loss came in spite of the return of Brankica Mihaljovic for the lineup, who didn’t play in the team’s last group stage game.
Brazil won the match’s first set and the two teams traded on the next two before Brazil dominated the 4th by a score of 25-14. Midway through or immediately after that 3rd-set blowout, Serbian coach Zoran Terziv pulled most of his starters, including Mihaljovic who led group 1 in scoring in preliminary round play.
The reserves on a deep Serbian national team did better, but were unable to fight back the Brazilian attack and ultimately fell 25-23.
Tandara Caixeta continued her run as Brazil’s best scorer in this tournament, putting in 24 on the day. She has many times been a successful member of Brazil’s Grand Prix team, but has been unable to break through to their World Championship or Olympic squads. Her output in this year’s tournament, leading a young team to at least the championship match, if not the top of the podium, could be enough to push her into the national limelight. She had just 4 hitting errors on 39 swings and landed almost 59% of her shots – part of a 49.50% average for Brazil as a whole.
Serbia stayed competitive thanks to a singular effort by Tijana Boskovic, who led the team in kills (24), blocks (4), and had all 3 of the teams aces for 31 points.
Brazil will play the winner of Italy and China in Sunday’s championship game. Brazil has won more Grand Prixs (11) and finished on more podium (18) than any other country in the tournament’s 25-year history. Serbia will play the loser of that match for bronze – a game they’ve won both times they’ve played in it (2011, 2013).
The loss by Serbia also disrupts the possibility of a China-Serbia Olympic gold medal rematch in the final. Brazil have won 3 of the last 4 titles, including last season.
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