Macau, China, June 17, 2016 – Serbia's Tijana Boskovic inspired her side to come from behind to defeat Brazil 3-2 (16-25, 29-31, 25-19, 25-19, 18-16) Friday at the Macau Forum.
Despite falling behind 2-0, Boskovic (30 points) and Brankica Mihajlovic (26 points) inspired a remarkable comeback for the European side, who were looking for their first win of the 2016 World Grand Prix campaign. Brazil's Fabiana Claudino and Natalia Pereira both scored 16 points for their side, but could not hold out to fall to a first defeat of their campaign.
Both teams had contrasting fortunes on the opening week of the World Grand Prix with Brazil looking to maintain their 100% record, whilst Serbia were still searching for their first win of the 2016 campaign. Serbia had never beaten their South American opponents before in the World Grand Prix and were looking to salvage their tournament against a Brazil side packed full of quality.
The teams traded points to start the match until Brazil grabbed a three-point lead at the first technical timeout. Serbia battled back to tie the match at 12-12 but Brazil went on to score three consecutive points, forcing the Serbians to take a timeout at 12-15. A second ball-handling fault by the Serbian setter Ognjenovic allowed Brazil to take a 17-13 lead. Brazil continued to dominate play and the set was closed out with a huge triple block on Serbia’s Boskovic for a 25-16 win.
Brazil continued its strong play in Set 2, leading 8-5 and 16-13 at the technical timeouts. With Brazil leading 18-13 momentum switched in favor of Serbia. First Brazil committed two hitting errors and then Boskovic completed three consecutive kills to tie the score at 19-19. From that point forward it was anyone’s set and the teams thrilled the crowd as they pushed the score to 29-29. Fabiana broke the deadlock as she served up an ace to give Brazil the set 31-29.
Serbia came out firing in the third set and jumped out to a 6-2 lead thanks to the strong play of Mihajlovic and Boskovic. The Serbians retained at least a three-point lead throughout as Brazil looked to have taken their foot off the pedal, giving the European side a route back into the match with a 25-19 win.
The Serbians turned things up a notch in set four, thanks to the strong serve of Mihajlovic. She remained on the service line for seven consecutive points and propelled her team to an early 11-3 lead. Brazil couldn’t recover and trailed by six at the second technical timeout. The teams traded points until Serbia closed out the set 25-19.
The teams traded points to start the fifth set but it was Mihajlovic and her powerful jump serve who gave Serbia the first significant lead at 5-2. Serbia jumped further ahead to 11-6 courtesy of an ace from Malesevic. But Brazil was not done and fought back with some incredibly inspiring play to tie the match at 14-14. The teams traded points until a Serbian triple-block ended the match at 18-16.
Serbia plays China tomorrow in the late match while Brazil will take on Belgium.