Japan, 13 November, 2001 - Japan, China and
Korea made Tuesday a Day of Asia as the trio pocketed as
many stunning victories on the opening day of the 2001
World Grand Champions Cup.
the wild card Korea that was the star team of the day,
as it produced the biggest upset by crushing the title
favorite United States 3-1 at the opening match.
promising sensation China took its revenge of the
reigning champion Russia 3-1 in the following match,
while Japan wrapped up the first-day matches by
embarrassing the South American champion Brazil in
straight sets in the Saitama Super Arena.
head coach Kim Cheol-yong was overwhelmed with happiness
by his teams defeat of the 2001 World Grand Prix
champion. "I'm very happy to win the first match of
this tournament. I formed the team only two weeks before
and enrolled many young players. I believe my players have gained confidence from this
win," Kim said.
from the very beginning of the match that Korea set the
pace that steered then to the 3-1 (25-18, 25-21, 19-25,
Koreans managed to turn a series of errors of its rival
into winning points as it scored 33 points on errors,
compared to 17 from the U.S..
"I'm proud of competing in the tournament as wild
card," captain Choi Kwang-hee said.
"The whole team was confident that we could
win the match, and it worked well."
head coach, Japanese Yoshida Toshiaki, said his squad
lacked their normal cohesiveness.
of my players only joined the team on November 6 and 7,
and one came straight back from the Italian league. We
didn't have enough time to train together.
missed some big points down the stretch, and that was
the worst thing in a match. The Korean team played
really well," he added.
we'll face another strong team in China. It will be very
hard to win," Toshiaki said.
second match, China faced the imposing sight of
Artamonova, Godina and 24-year-old 201cm Ekaterina
Gomova - the tallest front line in the world of
womens volleyball averaging 196cm.
even facing this Russian wall and a squad with 186
world and Olympic Games match appearances under its
belt, the fearless Chinese, that have not one world
championship or Olympic Games appearance in its squad,
played with the heart of a lion and way above their
years to defeat the European Champions in one of the
best matches of the year 3-1 (33-35, 25-21, 25-19,
the Olympic silver medallist in Sydney last year, almost
forced the match into a decisive fifth set as it rallied
four points to tie it at 24-24 in the fourth.
But China maintained its composure to take the
set, 27-25, and the game as consequence.
lost to Russia twice this year by 3-1 and 3-0
respectively, so it's so nice to beat them this
time," said Chinese head coach Chen Zhonghe.
players did well on creating pressure on attack though
we are much smaller than them. This is the reason why we
could make a great win today," Chen added.
head coach Nikolai Karpol said he didn't know what
happened on the attacks, which helped Russia take the
didn't play well after the first set, and I cannot say
what the problem is. We'll find out the reason
afterwards," he said.
led all the way from the start to the claim one of its
biggest victories in the world level competitions when
it beat-up Brazil completely on every aspect of the
coach Masahiro Yoshikawa said, "My team had one of
the best games ever. The players had given their best
and we got the key points on the right time, so we won
coach Marco Aurelio Motta described the loss as a
disaster. "We didn't play as we usually do tonight
as we missed a couple of servers and had a big problem
on blocks. My players didn't play well.
They could not catch up with Japan's fast
team outside Asia could stand for another loss in the
single round-robin tournament when the U.S. face China
and Russia meets Brazil on Wednesday.
Japan will take on Korea in the evening.
Shan Lei, Xinhua News Agency
Saitama, Japan, 14 November, 2001 - China
put itself into the drivers seat after its second
straight victory, defeating the United States 3-1
(25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22) on Wednesday in the 2001
World Grand Champions Cup women's event.
The Asian champion is 2-0 and on top on the standings
after it finished off defending champion Russia 3-1 on
"A win today could put us into a quite positive
position in the tournament, so my players were
nervous," said Chinese head coach Chen Zhonghe.
U.S. head coach Toshiaki Yoshida said, "China
played better than we expected. We had big problems in
reception and servings. We will find out the
Defending champion Russia was labored to pull down a
victory in the second match of Day 2 when the Olympic
silver medallist needed a five-set marathon to oust
South American champion Brazil, 3-2 (21-25, 25-20,
28-30, 25-16, 15-10).
"My players had a better game than that of
yesterday, but we still didn't play in the best
form," Russian head coach Nikolai Karpol said.
The Chinese team, which has a completely different squad
from its Sydney Olympics team, showed it is better than
the one that finished fifth in Sydney 2000.
Beating the Americans is a sweet revenge of the 3-1 loss
China faced at Septembers World Grand Prix final in
"We had some difficult times when we lost patience
in attack. Players complained to each other on the
court, and that cost us a lot.
Fortunately we managed to calm down and got what we
wanted," Chen said.
China was not intimated by America's attacking
combination of Danielle Scott and Therese Crawford,
clinching the critical third set 25-22 with a 6-0
scoring run after the two splitting the first two sets.
In the roller-coaster fourth set, the Chinese were down
again before they popped up to maintain a 2-point lead
at 21-19, which ensured them the best of the set and
"It's a tough match. Everything could happen when
you had only two or three point lead down the stretch.
My players didn't do quite well and they need time to
learn how to cope with the hard time," Chen added.
The Russian victory gave them 1-1 record, the only team
among the world's elite that stuck with the same squad
as that of the Sydney Olympics. They hang on in the
single round-robin tournament, while Brazil is now 0-2
and at the bottom of the standings.
In the do-or-die face-off, Russia could not get into the
game until it was on the verge of the cliff.
The European champion squandered three chances to take
the critical third set after 1-1. Tying it at 24-24,
Flavia Carvalho put Brazil ahead with a serving point,
and held onto the advantage to make it 2-1.
But Russia then found the rhythm, taking a quick win in
the following set to level the match, and built up a
10-6 lead in the decisive fifth set.
The world tallest front-court line-up, 2.01-metre
Ekaterina Gamova and 1.94-meter Elena Godina, stepped in
to prove their strength with complete domination over
the net to give Russia the victory.
"We had a new setter after the GP (Grand Prix). It
takes time for my players to have more communication and
better understandings with each other," Karpol
"After the third set, my players could not
concentrate on the match and let it slide," said
Brazil's head coach Marco Aurello Motta.
"We lost 8 points on service in the fourth set.
Russia had better blocks after that and we just did not
have the strikes we had earlier in the match."
The tournament will be moved to Fukuoka on 16 November
where Russia takes on the U.S., Korea versus Brazil and
Japan meets China.
Shan Lei, Xinhua News Agency