Gioia del Colle, Italy, July 21, 2003 - China started in top gear for their opening match of the 2003 World Grand Prix with a 3-0 victory over newcomers Canada. Canada stayed in the game for the first set, but was overrun by the tall and powerful Chinese in the remaining two sets. China finished with 25-22, 25-24 and 25-15.
Meanwhile, in the fourth match of the day , Italy faced Germany and settled 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-19, 25-22) in their favor but not without a struggle and not without highs and lows on both sides.
China deployed some heavy weapons against Canada with big hitters Liu Yanan and Zhou Suhong powering home 18 spike points between them, even though it was Canada's Janis Kelly that took honors for top scorer with 13 points.
The Italian trainer Marco Bonitta said it had not been "a real win" for his team, adding that they had some new players on the side.
"We have a lot of pressure on us," Bonitta said. 'We are playing at home in front of our own supporters and we are the World Champions."
Italy's team newcomer Valentina Fiorin powered home 24 points t be best match scorer, with Judith Sylvester scoring 17 for Germany.
After the match, Germany's captain Angelina Gruen said her team had simply made too many small mistakes , even though they were satisfied and considered they had "taken some good steps forward" in the tournament.