Thai spikers upset Serbia

HWASEONG, SOUTH KOREA: Thailand came back from 2-1 down to defeat Serbia 3-2 on Saturday to even their record at 1-1 in the 2014 World Grand Prix women's volleyball tournament.

The Thai side will face Germany on Sunday after eking out a 25-19, 18-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13 win over Serbia in Pool B of the first preliminary round at Hwaseong Sports Complex.

The win was was Thailand’s second over Serbia in three meetings at the World Grand Prix. It was also a big confidence builder for the Thai side since Serbia, which is ranked seventh in the world, had blanked No. 9 Germany 3-0 in their opening contest the day before.

Thailand, currently ranked 12th in the world, is among 28 countries taking part in the tournament that is being staged in 20 cities with the final in Bulgaria on Aug 24. The Pool G matches featuring Thailand, the United States, Brazil and the Dominican Republic, will be held at Hua Mark Indoor Stadium in Bangkok from Aug 15-17.

“It was a good match. Our players showed their commitment,” said Thailand coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai.

“They implemented all the tactics. The good sign is that they are not discouraged after losing to South Korea in the first match.”

The Thai women lost 3-1 to hosts South Korea in their opening match on Friday.

Captain Wilawan Apinyapong said the players had learned from their mistakes in the first match against South Korea. “We reduced mistakes a lot from the first match," she said.

She also was grateful for the support of Thai fans at the stadium. “The atmosphere was like playing in Thailand. Hundreds of fans cheered for us here,” she said. “Their support helped us a lot. We need that one more day against Germany.”

In Saturday's other Pool B match, South Korea earned their second win by beating Germany 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21.

No. 10 South Korea have six points while Germany are still chasing their first point after two defeats.

In seven Grand Prix matches against Germany, Thailand has won only once, in 2010.

Kiattipong said Germany were more experienced and had a slight advantage over his team. However, he said his players were capable of winning the match if everyone was in form.

His only concern is the players’ fitness. "We played five sets against Serbia. I am not sure how well my players will recover," he said.

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