Russia survives gritty host Thailand to seal FIVB World Grand Prix semis battle with USA
Nataliya Goncharova led the way for Russia with 27 points. Photo courtesy of FIVB

BANGKOK -- Russia disposed Thailand, 27-25, 26-24, 25-19, to advance to the semifinals of the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Grand Prix at Huamark Indoor Stadium on Friday.

Nataliya Goncharova led the way for Russia with 27 points anchored on 23 attacks, while Kseniia Ilchenko added 12 and Yana Shcherban had 11.

The Russians will face defending champs USA in the knockout semifinals on Saturday.

After losing to Brazil on its first game, 22-25, 10-25, 21-25, Russia regrouped and toughened up on defense, coming up with 15 blocks, to turn back Thailand in front of the home crowd.

Ajcharaporn Kongyot had 17 points for Thailand, while skipper Pleumjit Thinkaow added 13.

Thailand will face China in the classification match.

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