Spikers clear first hurdle to final
Hosts Thailand thrashed old foes Argentina in straight sets for the second time in the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix with a 25-15 25-16 25-13 win over the world No 18 in their opening Pool J clash yesterday.
More than 6,000 home spectators packed Din Daeng's Keelawes 1 Gymnasium to cheer the home team in their bid for a berth at the Finals in Ningbo, China from Wednesday to July 1.
World No 12 Thailand, who beat Argentina in their Pool A match in Macau two weeks ago, fielded the same strong lineup that beat world No 3 Japan last weekend in Nagoya, Japan. They included gunners Wilavan Apinyapong and Onuma Sittirak and lightningfast spiker Pleumjit Thinkaow.
Powerful midcourt spikes from Onuma and effective blocks from Pleumjit and setter Nootsara Tomkom drove the home side to a 25-15 firstset win.
The visitors battled to hold the surging hosts but again found no answers as they saw the second set disappear 25-16.
The third brought more pain for Argentina as the Thais led from start to finish for a lopsided 25-13 win to clinch the match.
"The team needed to win this crucial match to keep alive our chances of making the Finals at the end of this month," said Thai head coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai.
"Argentina came back much stronger this time.
"We still have more to learn and I think my players can cut down unforced errors when they take on Serbia [today]," he added.
Earlier, world No 1 and consecutive twotime world champions USA stayed unbeaten in the onemonth tournament after outclassing European champs Serbia in straight sets 25-19 25-23 25-18.
Today from 2pm, USA take on Argentina and Thailand play Serbia.