PRESS RELEASE 22.07.2003


USA and Russia win opening matches on Day 2

July 22, 2003 - USA maintained their unbeaten record in the World Grand Prix with a nailbiting 3-2 (24-26, 25-17, 25-15, 23-25, 15-12) win over Japan in their Pool A match in Gioia del Colle, Italy on Tuesday.

After conceding a first set lead USA stormed through to win the following two sets before Japan fought back and gave USA a scare by winning the fourth before USA prevailed in the fifth set tie breaker. “This was not a pretty match," said USA coach Toshiaki Yoshida. "It was almost a nightmare, although the statistics say we won.” USA captain Danielle Scott said the match typified the high quality of play at the tournament. “The Japanese side showed very good defense and this proves that there will be no easy matches at this championship. All the teams are very good.”

Japanese coach Shoichi Yanagimoto said; “We simply tried too hard to win this match”.

Meanwhile defending World Grand Prix champions Russia recorded their first victory in the 2003 edition after beating Thailand on Tuesday in straight sets 25-18, 25-21, 25-19 in Matera. The No 1 ranked team in the world needed to win the match after losing their opening Pool B match on Monday night to Korea 3-1.