Kyoto, Japan, June 25, 2016 - Nataliya Goncharova has continued her outstanding FIVB World Grand Prix, scoring a game-high 21 points as Russia beat Thailand 3-1 (25-16, 25-22, 22-25, 25-12) in Kyoto on Saturday.
Goncharova has now scored 161 points for the tournament and with her latest effort, she consigned Thailand to their 11th successive loss against Russia in the World Grand Prix.
It was a sign of things to come for Thailand when Goncharova slammed the first point of the match into the floor on their side of the court. A couple of errors from Thailand allowed Russia to stretch their lead to 8-4 at the first technical timeout and after a Goncharova kill gave Russia a 20-12 lead, they went on to take the set 25-16 from yet another spike from their barometer Goncharova.
Despite fighting hard in the first set, errors again cruelled their start to the second set as Russia took a 6-3 lead. Ajcharaporn Kongyot was working her way into the match and with strong support from Pattaya Bundasak, Thailand were able to level things at 13-13 before taking a slender lead. Goncharova had other ideas though and helped Russia recover to take the second set 25-22.
Wilavan Apinyapong was defending brilliantly in the early exchanges of the third set and attacking well too. It was level at 17-17 before Thailand created another small gap, and after a service error from Anastasia Shlyakhovaya, they took the set 25-22, with the match at 2-1 in Russia’s favour.
Russia responded by taking a 4-0 lead in the fourth set and continued their ascendancy from there, winning the fourth set 25-12 and the match 3-1. Kongyot scored a team-best 13 points, extending her Thai-best tournament tally to 124 points.