Tijana Boskovic (SRB)

Serbia and Brazil overcame Italy and ROC, respectively, on Wednesday, to fill the last two places in the women’s semifinals of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at Ariake Arena. Serbia will play USA in the first semifinal on Friday before Brazil take on Korea in the second.

Rio 2016 silver medallists Serbia put on a strong and consistent display in their game against Italy to record a 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-21) win.

Serbian opposite Tijana Boskovic was unstoppable, scoring eight points from the attack line in the opening set, while her rival Paola Egonu scored seven.

The Serbians took a 2-0 lead as the Italian defence had no defensive response to Boskovic's prolific scoring. The other members of the Serbian team also got involved in offence, including setter Maja Ognjenovic. Coach Zoran Terzic's players implemented sound defence as they limited Egonu to just five markers in the set.

They used the rest of the match to reinforce their authority even when Italy had the lead at the start of the third set. Serbia again applied a tough defence and avoided any attacking surges from their rivals to complete the sweep.

Boskovic led with 24 points and Milena Rasic had 10 as Serbia’s double-digit scorers, while Egonu was limited to just 16 markers.

“When you have a Tijana Boskovic in your team, your job as a setter becomes easy. She is a big asset and advantage to the team because she is someone who can really score,” Ognjenovic.

“I am really happy that we were able to reach the semifinals and we are excited to meet the United States next.”


In the final quarterfinal of the day, Brazil rallied from a set down to defeat ROC 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-22) and mark their return to the semifinals, after missing the final four in their home Games in Rio de Janeiro.

After their first three Olympic appearances, Brazil reached six consecutive Olympic final fours. They won two bronze medals at Athens 1996 and Sydney 2000, and won back-to-back Olympic titles at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

The opening set featured some heavy-hitting action from the hitters and middles of both teams. ROC’s Nataliya Goncharova and Arina Fedorovtseva combined for 13 markers, while Brazil’s Fe Garay and Ana Carolina Da Silva pooled 11 in the tight encounter. ROC got away with a two-point edge off Goncharova’s swings.

Irina Fetisova and Irina Voronkova had a fiery start in the second set to give ROC the momentum and mount a huge lead. ROC led by as much as six points, but Ana Carolina Da Silva and Gabi Guimaraes ignited a run for Brazil to start a good return. Brazil wiped out the ROC lead and succeeded in the second set takeover.

After being silent in the first two sets, Carol Gattaz’s nine-point outburst powered Brazil’s domination and win in the third set.

In the fourth set, Brazil carried their momentum from the other sets to establish a lead, but ROC managed to make a strong comeback and post a 17-15 lead through a Voronkova block and a Fedorovtseva ace. The succeeding plays resulted in tight attack exchanges and a deadlock at 22-all, but Rosamaria Montibeller scored three straight points to seal the Brazilian victory.

Brazil made an excellent team effort with five players scoring in double digits. Gabi scored 18, Rosamaria and Carol Gattaz had 16 points apiece, and Fe Garay and Carol added 14 and 10 points in the win.

Fedorovtseva and Voronkova finished with 20 and 18 points for Russia.

"It was a balanced game, ROC took a lot of risks when they served. There was too much emotion and pressure, but we played well together as a team, and I am happy that we could get this win," Fe Garay said.