Sapporo (Japan), Aug 31: Brazil crushed Serbia 3-0 (27-25, 25-21, 25-22) Saturday in the World Grand Prix Finals, topping the tournament with a 4-0 record.
The Brazilians were led by Sheilla Castro with 19 points and the Serbian top scorer was Ana Bjelica, also with 19. The South American team had a terrifying 15 points on blocks, while Serbia, which led serve points 4-3, gained six on blocks, reports Xinhua.
Serbia came up with some good early hits from Nadja Ninkovic and Bjelica and was four points ahead at the first technical timeout but good blocking by Danielle Lins and Fernanda Rodrigues helped Brazil level at 9-9.
More big hits from Bjelica opened up another Serbia lead and Brazil coach Ze Roberto called timeout at 11-14. Castro blocked Tijana Malesevic to level the scores at 18. Serbia saved two set points before Rodrigues took control and ended the set with two thunderous blows.
Blocks from Thaisa Menezes and Castro helped Brazil move into a 9-4 lead in the second set while Rodrigues came up with a classy tip-over and two big blocks to keep the pressure on Serbia. Ninkovic then served up two aces to help reduce the gap from five to two points at 12-10 but Brazil was five points up at the second technical timeout.
Ninkovic sent down a couple of missiles to narrow the gap to 20-17 but a netted serve by Bojana Zivkovic handed Brazil six set points. They blew three of them before Gabriela Guimaraes crashed a shot over the net to put Brazil 2-0 up.
Serbia got their blocking right early in the third set. Stefana Veljkovic stopped Rodrigues before her teammate Ninkovic scored three blocks in a row – two on Thaisa and one on Guimaraes giving Serbia a three-point lead at the first technical timeout. But Brazil was back in the game after a couple of hits from Castro tied the scores at 8-8.
An ace by Fabiana Claudino saw Brazil into a four-point lead at 17-13 but three straight Brazil errors narrowed the gap to one point at 18-17. Veljkovic served long to make the score 21-18 and a great block by Cristina Barreto on Bjelica gave Brazil a four-point cushion. Guimaraes brought match point with a rocket and finished things off with another strong hit.
Brazil will play China Sunday while Serbia will fight against Italy on the last day of the tournament.