2003 FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX

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Day Six
First defeat for USA; Brazil fail to qualify
July 26, 2003 – World Champion silver medallists USA incurred their first defeat so far at the 11th edition of the FIVB $1 million World Grand Prix on Saturday when world champions Italy scraped together only their second win taking out their old rivals in a tense five setter 3-2 to round up the preliminaries of this elite women’s annual volleyball tournament.  Italy came back from two sets down to finish a creditable third in Pool A behind USA and the Netherlands who won their place also the hard way, unseating Germany, also in the tiebreaker to spoil their chances of going further. more  Pic Italian euphoria after exacting a 3-2 victory over USA Results Standings
Italy def. USA 3-2 (23-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-15, 15-9) Match stats  
Netherlands def. Germany 3-2 (25-21, 26-28, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13) Match Stats


Korea humble Brazil; Russia defeats China
July 26, 2003 –   Korea shook up Brazil on Saturday night with a 3-0 slamming that sent the Koreans dancing with joy and brought the Brazilians down to earth with a thud, while Russia beat China 3-1 to keep the qualification for the next round open until after the final matches of this FIVB $1 million World Grand Prix, the elite women’s annual volleyball tournament. Korea’s 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-18) win took them straight to the top of the Pool B table, with Russia and China behind them, but Brazil’s defeat was the end of the road for them at this World Grand Prix. more  
Pic: Korean joy knows no bounds after their win against Brazil


Japan and Thailand wind up on a high note

July 26, 2003 – Japan defeated Cuba and Thailand beat Canada in their final two matches in the preliminary round of the FIVB $1 million World Grand Prix, with all four teams fighting for the honor of going out in a blaze of glory, and to avoid finishing on the bottom of their respective Pool tables. more
Pic: Thailand's Amporn Hyapha takes to the air to deprive Canada of a victory
 
Saturday's matches:
Japan def. Cuba 3-2 (18-25, 25-18, 25-20, 19-25. 15-13 Match Stats  
Thailand def. Canada  3-1 (28-26, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22) Match Stats
Korea def Brazil 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-18) Match Stats

Russia def. China 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-20, 28-26) Match Stats

Day Five
Wrap-up: USA unbeaten; Brazil blemishes China’s perfect record
Matera, Italy, July 25, 2003 – The USA on Friday slogged its way to a fourth straight win at the 2003 FIVB $1 million World Grand Prix women’s volleyball tournament on Friday night, but not without difficulties against a gritty Germany. In other top action, Brazil blemished China's perfect record with a 3-1 victory in a day that saw the competition tighten and even some of the best were forced to bail themselves out of difficult situations. But in perhaps the sensation of the day, so-far win-less Japan fought back from two sets down to storm to victory over world champions and hosts Italy to finish 3-2 (23-25, 16-25, 25-21, 26-24, 15-10). more Fr Pic: Exuberant Brazil after inflicting defeat on China for the first time in the tournament
 

South Korea outclass Thailand
; USA remains unbeaten after tough match with Germany
July 25, 2003 – South Korea outclassed Thailand 3-0 (25-21, 25-31, 25-10) Match Stats on Friday to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the final round of the 2003 women’s volleyball World Grand Prix.
In other action just completed, the USA finally overpowered Germany to retain their unbroken record of victory, but had to fight out a bitter fourth set when finally fell in their favor 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 17-25, 33-31)
South Korea, the surprising winners over defending champions Russia on Monday, improved to three wins against one loss in preliminary round Pool B that also included China, Brazil and Canada.
more
Pic: Thailand's wing-spiker Patcharee attempting to break through the Korean defense


Russia wins third successive match
July 25, 2003 - The Women's World Grand Prix defending champions Russia collected their third win in a row after defeating Canada in comprehensive fashion 25-17, 25-17, 25-14 in Pool B's opening match on Friday in Matera. The world number one team now has a record of three wins and a loss - following their opening day loss to Korea and look on track to progress to next week's Final Round in defense of their title. More  Match Stats In the other earlier match on Friday, the Netherlands came back from two sets down to sneak a thrilling 3-2 win over Cuba in Pool A 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-13. Match Stats Spanish  Pic: Russia celebrate their easy 3-0 win over Canada

Crucial day in race for top three
July 25, 2003 - The women's premier annual tournament the World Grand Prix resumes today in Italy with day five of the preliminary rounds providing crucial matches in the race for the top three pool positions, which gain automatic qualification to next week's World Grand Prix Finals. 
In Gioia del Colle, the first game in Pool A at 13.07 GMT sees the Netherlands (3rd) take on Cuba (5th) before a huge clash between the unbeaten pool leaders USA and 2nd-placed Germany at 16.07 GMT. 
In Pool B in Matera, Canada (5th) starts proceedings at 13.07 GMT with their match against the defending champions Russia (3rd) before Korea (4th) takes on Thailand (6th) at 16.07 GMT and a big showdown between unbeaten China (1st) and Brazil (2nd) at 19.07 GMT. 
Pic: Brazil play China in a key Pool B game today


Day Four (Rest Day)
Day Three
Russia levels Brazil; USA remains unbeaten; Italy falls to Cuba

July 23, 2003 - Russia rolled out the heavy artillery on Wednesday night and battled their way through five sets to blast Brazil off the court in one of the most powerful matches so far in this year’s edition of the World Grand Prix while in other action the USA took just 75 minutes to wrap up their crisp 3-0 victory against the Netherlands to retain their unbeaten record in the competition so far.  more French  
Pic: Cuba celebrates tiebreaker victory over hosts Italy 
Standings Results Full match schedule 
Match Stats Italy v Cuba Match Stats Thailand v China

Russia knocks over Brazil in 5-set thriller
July 23, 2003 Russia pulled out all their big guns on Wednesday night but it still took them five sets and one hour 44 minutes to blast Brazil off the court in one of the most powerful matches so far in this year's edition of the World Grand Prix. In other action Germany downed Japan 3-1. Russia settled the match 3-2 (25-16, 20-25, 25-17, 21-15 and 15-13) with coach Nikolai Karpol fielding his starting six heavyweights and working them on the court for the entire match. more  
Pic Russia's Anastasia Belakova celebrates a hard fought victory

Match Stats Russia vs Brazil, Match stats Germany vs. Japan

USA prevails in top of the table clash
July 23, 2003 - The opening feature clash on day three of the World Grand Prix in Italy has seen USA take the honors in the battle between the two unbeaten sides in Pool A. USA beat the Netherlands 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-15). More  
Meanwhile Korea held off a determined Canadian side 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-13, 25-23) in the Pool B match played in Matera. 
Pic: Canada pushed Korea close before going down in four sets 
Match stats Canada vs. Korea
Match stats USA vs Netherlands

Day Two
Going gets tough when the tough get going
Matera, Italy, July 22, 2003 – The FIVB $1 million World Grand Prix ended on a dramatic note on Tuesday night with two extraordinary matches that saw China triumph over Korea and the Netherlands pulling off a surprise victory over hosts and world champions Italy in a five-set thriller. China and Korea fought a 29-27 battle royal in their opening set, before Korea crumbled in their second, scoring a mere eight points before going down courageously in the third to present China with their second straight win. China, the Asian powerhouse, faces Thailand on Wednesday before two tough matches with natural adversaries Brazil and Russia. Pic: Superb set by China's Feng Kun more Spanish French
Match Stats China vs. Korea; Match Stats Italy vs. Netherlands


Brazil wins second match, Germany back on top

Matera, Italy, July 22, 2003 – Brazil signaled their seriousness in heading for the World Grand Prix title on Tuesday with a comfortable straight sets win over Canada while Germany, despite a brief third set lapse of concentration, plowed through the young Cuban side to go 3-1 up in Pool A in the second day of play at the FIVB $1 million World Grand Prix. Earlier USA beat Japan in a tight tiebreaker that at times had the Americans on the run, while Russia reversed their losing trend with an easy win over Thailand in straight sets. Brazil hardly seemed troubled in their contest with Canada, emerging 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-20) winners, which gave coach Marco Motta more confidence after his claim on Monday that the green-and-golds had come intent on winning the title. more Spanish  
Pic: Virna unleases another attack on Canada as Brazil cruise to a 3-0 win

Match Stats Bra vs Can
Match Stats Ger vs Cub

Russia and USA win opening matches on Day 2
July 22, 2003 - USA have maintained their unbeaten record in the World Grand Prix with a nailbiting 3-2 (24-26, 25-17, 25-15, 23-25, 15-12) over Japan in their other 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. Spanish Match Stats Jap vs USA Match Stats Rus vs. Tha Pic: Thailand on attack against an impressive Russian wall

USA need five sets to beat Japan
GIOIA DEL COLLE, Italy, July 22, 2003 – Keba Phipps scored a match-high 21 points to lead five players in double figures as the U.S. women’s national volleyball team edged Japan, 3-2, to improve to 2-0 at the 2003 FIVB World Grand Prix Tuesday afternoon at the Palazzo dello Sport. Phipps had 17 kills, three service aces and one block in the 24-26, 25-17, 25-15, 23-25, 15-12 victory in Pool A. "This was not a pretty match," said Team USA head coach Toshi Yoshida. "It was almost a nightmare, although the statistics say we won." More Pic: USA dug deep to beat Japan

Day One
Korea pulls off late night upset; defeats Russia

Matera, Italy, 21 July – Korea pulled off a late night surprise on the opening day of the World Grand Prix when they defeated titleholders Russia 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-18, 31-29) in just six minutes shy of two hours. Korea started strongly and secured the first set, then following a short power failure in the stadium, Russia clambered back to level at one set all. But the Koreans showed determination and were undeterred going into the third set, pulling up the powerful Russians once again, then, in a spectacular fourth set, secured the match.
Speaking after the match, the Russian captain Evgenia Artamonova said that her team had suffered in the heat. Temperatures were around the mid 30's Celsius on Monday night in this southern Italian town.
More Spanish Match Stats
Pic: Korea launches fierce attack on Russia to help fuel late night surprise

USA open with sweep of Cuba
Gioia del Colle, Italy, July 21, 2003 – Team captain Danielle Scott scored a match-high 11 points to lead four players in double figures as the U.S. women’s national volleyball team swept past Cuba 3-0 ( 25-22, 25-19, 25-14) to begin the 2003 FIVB World Grand Prix Monday night at the Palazzo dello Sport. Scott, the Most Valuable Player of this tournament in 2001 when the United States won the gold medal, had seven kills and a match-high four blocks in the 25-22, 25-19, 25-14 victory in Pool A. Keba Phipps, Elisha Thomas and Logan Tom added 10 points apiece as Team USA won its sixth match in a row to improve to 10-6 on the season.
More Spanish Match stats
Pic: USA celebrate as they charge towards victory over Cuba

Big Teams make deep cuts in opposition on opening day
Giola del Colle, Italy, July 21 – The world’s elite women’s volleyball teams launched an unrelenting attack on the underdogs on Monday in opening matches of the FIVB 2003 World Grand Prix, the premier annual tournament for women. But hosts and world champions Italy, perhaps under pressure in front of their home crowds, conceded a set to Germany, on a day that saw all other matches decided in straight sets. more French Spanish  
Pic Italy celebrates 3-1 victory over Germany

Late matches: USA beats Cuba 3-0
Match stats


China sweeps Canada 3-0 on opening day; Italy 3-1 against Germany:
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. more Spanish  
Pic: Big hitting J.L. Chu powers home a spike against Canada

China vs. Canada Match Stats  Italy vs. Germany match Stats

Brazil and the Netherlands win opening matches
Matra, Italy, July 21, 2003 - Brazil cruised to their first victory in the 2003 World Grand Prix with a straightforward, straight sets win over Thailand in a match that was settled in one hour and nine minutes.
Brazil showed no mercy and gave away few points for a 25-10, 25-17, 25-11 result that was clearly a Volleyball lesson for the young Thai team. In other early match action, Netherlands delivered a 3-0 smack to Japan in their opening encounter at the Palazzo dello Sport in the southern Italian city of Gioia del Colle. more
Spanish
Brazil vs. Thailand Match Stats
Netherlands vs. Japan Match Stats
Pic: Thailand on attack against Brazil


PREVIEW

China seek development in opening match
July 21, 2003 - The Chinese women's volleyball team will certainly try their utmost during the World Grand Prix, which starts on Monday in Italy but head coach Chen Zhonghe said his team will be looking to use the women's premier annual event as a launch pad towards a top three finish at the 2003 World Cup in November in Japan. "We've got two jobs to do at the Grand Prix," Zhonghe said before leading his side into their opening match against Canada at 16:00GMT on Monday. "The first is to further shape up the team and get prepared for the World Cup and the second is for me to observe the performance of some of the younger players". More Spanish
Pic: China lost to Russia in last year's World Grand Prix final

Counting down to the opening whistle
July 17, 2003 - From the July 21 to August 3 Italy will be the theatre of dreams for the elite of women's volleyball when the 2003 World Grand Prix takes place in three gorgeous cities Matera, Gioia del Colle and Andria. The stunningly attractive Matera and Gioia del Colle will play host to 12 of the best teams in women's volleyball in round robin play, before the World Grand Prix Finals are held in Andria on the striking Adriatic coast line. <br> This year is a very special year for the World Grand Prix with this 11th edition of the most important annual women's event being hosted for the first time outside of Asia. More  
Pic: Defending champions Russia will be the ones to beat in 2003