Serbia ended Belgium's run at the Women's European Volleyball Championships ©CEV

The Women's European Volleyball Championship co-hosts had mixed fortunes in the quarter-final stage of the competition as Belgium fell to defeat to Serbia in Antwerp, while The Netherlands enjoyed a comfortable victory over Poland in Rotterdam.

Belgium begun the better in their last-eight tie against a Serbian side who have already booked a place at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and in front of a home crowd at the Lotto Arena they secured the opening set of the game 25-19 to raise hopes of a semi-final appearance.

The match though appeared to hinge on the second set with the Belgian team initially saving four set points, before they eventually wilted under the pressure of the Serbians who levelled the contest after claiming the two point advantage with the score at 29-27.

Having let a first lead advantage slip in their previous game against the Czech Republic before going on to claim a four set win, Belgium were hoping to achieve a similar feat but they soon found the game drifting out of reach as Serbia dominated the third set to seize control of the match.

A brief revival from the hosts was quashed by Maja Ognjenovic and Brankica Mihajlovic, whose impressive form helped Serbia secure a semi-final spot after sealing a 19-25, 29-27, 25-11, 25-18 triumph.

Meanwhile, The Netherlands lived up to the expectations of the 4,500 spectators who had packed into the Sportpaleis Ahoy Arena as they produced a polished performance in their tie against Poland.

Having clinched the first set 25-16, the Dutch had a brief setback as the Polish team rallied to quickly tie the match, but they were unable to prevent the co-hosts from winning the next two sets in style to book their place in the last four with a 25-16, 23-25, 25-16, 25-16 victory.

To advance to the final the Dutch team will have to overcome Turkey after they earned a thrilling five set win over Germany in Antwerp.

The Netherlands booked their spot in the last four by beating Poland
The Netherlands booked their spot in the last four by beating Poland ©CEV

After sharing the opening two sets, the Germans edged into the lead by taking the third 25-20.

However Turkey, one of the pre-tournament favourites, hauled themselves back into the match by edging the fourth set 25-23 with a superb spike pushing the match into a decider.

The tie remained in the balance with the scores locked at 7-7 in the final set but the Turkish squad, buoyed from fighting back from the brink of defeat, earned the lead in the closing stages and eventually held on for a 25-20, 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-12 win.

“This was a very tough game, mentally as well as physically,” said Eda Erdem Dündar, a Turkish blocker.

“They broke our rhythm and our mentality for a while, especially when they also turned around the third set.

“Now we’re only two wins away from the title, and very close to a medal.”

The final quarter-final tie saw Russia overcome Italy, with the match opening with a lengthy set which the Russian team claimed 30-28.

In keeping with the theme of the day Italy instantly drew level, however they were unable to maintain the momentum as Russia won the next two sets to seal a 30-28, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20 win and set up a clash with Serbia.

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