leaves China on top with Cuba
Switzerland, July 3, 2005 – The match everyone had been
waiting for in week two of the 2005 World Grand Prix
Preliminary Round saw Olympic champions China at their
sparkling best as they beat defending champions Brazil
in an incredible straight sets victory (25-22, 25-21,
25-20) in Macau. The win marked China's sixth win in as
many matches as the second round was completed on
Sunday. Cuba sit with China on top of the 12-team table
as the only two unbeaten sides after they beat Italy 3-1
(19-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21).
China coach Chen Zhonge said he wanted a stylish win
against Brazil and he got it. The number one team in the
world was too quick and classy for world number two
Brazil, handing the defending champions their first
defeat of the tournament. It was a riveting display, one
we are becoming accustomed to. No individual points
scoring feats, just an all-round blend of teamwork and
efficiency. The young Brazilian side had no answers.
Following straight set victories over Poland (25-18,
25-13, 25-14) and Germany 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-15)
earlier in the round, China have only lost one set all
tournament – to the Netherlands in week one.
Brazil are now alone in third spot with a 5-1 win-loss
record. They beat Poland 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-19) and
Germany 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 26-24) earlier in the round.
Meanwhile, Cuba have been in equally impressive form
after collecting three impressive victories in Manila.
After beating Thailand 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-17) on the
opening day, the Olympic bronze medalists had to pull
out all their reserves to beat the Netherlands 3-2
(25-20, 19-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-13) before beating last
year’s runner’s up Italy.
The Netherlands moved into fifth place with a 4-2
record, just behind Japan on points ratio after
collecting two victories - 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-21)
over Italy and 3-0 (25-9, 25-16, 25-22) against
Thailand. The young Italian side had a weekend they
would prefer not to remember losing two of their three
matches. Their only comfort a 3-0 (25-12, 25-10, 25-18)
win over Thailand.
In Seoul, Japan had been in sensational form before
losing to world number three USA on Sunday. The final
round hosts had been outstanding in beating Dominican
Republic 3-0 (27-25, 25-22, 25-17) and Korea 3-0 (25-22,
25-18, 25-13) before tripping up against last year’s
bronze medalists 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 29-27).
It’s a welcome win for the young USA side and their new
coach Jenny Lang Ping. After three defeats in their four
opening matches – including a surprise 3-2 (25-23,
13-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-13) loss to Korea on the opening
day in Seoul - the Americans have picked up two
important victories against the Dominican Republic 3-2
(23-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-16, 15-6) and Japan to stay
just outside the top six with a 3-3 record, just behind
sixth placed Italy on points ratio.
The weekend also marked a significant first for Korea.
They picked up their first two wins of the tournament –
against USA and 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-15) over the
Dominican Republic – in front of their home crowd in
Seoul. Meanwhile Poland and Germany fought out a 3-2
(22-25, 25-18, 26-24, 18-25, 15-11) marathon to see
Germany drop from eighth to 10th in the standings.
Current standings after three matches: 1) China 2) Cuba
3) Brazil 4) Japan 5) Netherlands 6) Italy 7) USA 8)
Korea 9) Poland 10) Germany 11) Dominican Republic 12)
After three weeks of Preliminary Round action, the top
six teams will enter the Final Round in Japan to play
for the honour of 2005 World Grand Prix champion.