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Press releases
Brazil, Italy, Netherlands claim opening wins at FIVB World Grand Prix Finals

Ningbo, August 22, 2007 - Six-time title winners Brazil, Italy and the Netherlands snatched opening wins at the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix final round here on Wednesday.

The South Americans, who compiled a ruthless 8-1 record after three weeks' preliminaries, snapped Poland's six match winning steak with a 25-21, 25-21 and 25-17 victory at the Beilun Sports and Arts Center.

Castro Sheilla had 11 kills to lead Brazil with 15 points and Pequeno Paula added 11.

It was hotly contested early in the match and Paula led a 3-0 run to level the score at 10-all.  Then the Poles pulled away at 14-11 and forced a Brazilian TO.  After the TO, the Brazilians made less mistakes and Poland appeared absent-minded, allowing the South Americans to pull within 17-16 and finally make it 18-18.

Then the Brazilians started to dominate on the net while Poland had trouble in attacking, with Skowronska-Dolata, Eleonora Dziekiewicz and Zuzanna Efimienko being stuffed on several occasions.

It was Poland again that hit top gear first in the second set, leading 8-6 at the first TTO.  However, Brazil started to show what it takes to be six-time winners of the tournament, overtaking the lead at 10-9 and never looked back before clinching the set 25-21.

Poland stayed within 8-7 early in the third set, but Brazil just found their range and demonstrated the awe-inspiring blocking skills to enlarge the lead to 18-11 and wind up the set and the match at 25-17 without a hitch.

“We worried about the match against Poland because they were on a six-match winning streak,” said Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes. “Poland is growing fast recently and among the strongest teams in the world now.”

“Our serving is getting better and better throughout the match and most of them threatened Poland defense. In the third set, we also did a good job in setting and blocking,” he added.

Russia's hopes of landing their fourth title at the FIVB Grand Prix Finals were dented after they surrendered to Italy 25-18, 25-17, 23-25 and 25-17 in the first round of the six-team round-robin tournament.
After 7-all in the first set, Italy started to take an upper hand to pull away while Russia were never into their game, making too many unforced errors before losing at a shameful 25-18 slump.

Following another lopsided set, won by Italy 25-17, the third set saw a recovering Russian team, with Yulia Sedova and Ekaterina Gamova sparkling to fire the team 6-2 up and forcing Italy off for a TO.

The Italians fought back strongly, but Russia did well enough to hold the lead to 24-20.  Though Italy beat off three set points, Russia converted on the fourth to level one set back at 25-23.

In the fourth set, Italy never allowed the world champions any chance, leading 8-4 and 16-9 at the first and second TTO to win through at 25-17.

“I feel happy for the team as we win the game at last,” said Italy head coach Massimo Barbolini. “We will have another tough match tomorrow and we will play every match like it is the only match.”

Taismary Aguero of Italy scored on 17 of her 35 spiking attempts to finish with game-high 22 points.

“They played very well and won the match even when they missed some key members,” said Russia’s Italian coach Giovanni Caprara. “We had some problems in defense and we should improve that.”

In the last match of the day, the Netherlands outlasted the host China 28-26, 26-24, 23-25, 23-25 and 15-8.

China rallied from two sets down to level it at 2-2, but the Netherlands raced to an 8-3 lead in the tiebreaker and never looked back.

China coach Chen Zhonghe after the match said: “My players played hard, it was not easy for them. We were outplayed in many aspects. We had ups and downs in the match and failed to snatch the key points. The main problem came from blocking.
Besides, our younger players are not experienced enough. The veteran players are in poor form due to injuries.”

"FOLLOW ME" by Andrea Zorzi
Andrea Zorzi, a former world champion who is now cooperating with the FIVB as a freelance journalist and technical commentator, was continuing his “Follow me” journey in Ningbo with a video interview to Polish player Skowronska and one commentary by him to be uploaded to the FIVB official website on Wednesday. The link is on the FIVB home page.


More press releases
26.08.2007 Netherlands land first title at the FIVB World Grand Prix in style  
25.08.2007 China chases Netherlands in FIVB World Grand Prix title race  
24.08.2007 Netherlands march toward first FIVB World Grand Prix title  
23.08.2007 Flier sparkles to lift Netherlands to second straight win at FIVB World Grand Prix Finals  
21.08.2007 Top teams to charge at Grand Prix final round at Ningbo, China  
21.08.2007 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round in Ningbo. The press conference before the start on Wednesday  
21.08.2007 China Gets Ready for the Final Round  
21.08.2007 Dziekiewicz lifts Poles’ spirits  
21.08.2007 All teams arriving for the final of 2007 WGP  
20.08.2007 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round: match schedule for the six contenders  
19.08.2007 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix: the best six go to Ningbo  
16.08.2007 Pre-battle announcement by teams in taipei pool  
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15.08.2007 World Grand Prix round in Macau: press conference  
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12.08.2007 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix: Brazil, Russia and Poland dominate the second leg  
09.08.2007 China women's team and China veteran women's team reunion in Hong Kong  
09.08.2007 Meet the Player Press conference in Hong Kong, dramatic game between Italy and Poland  
09.08.2007 Japan - Chinese Taipei: the rematch after the 2006 big result  
08.08.2007 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix: three pools in Japan, Russia and Hong Kong (China) to play the second leg from Friday  
08.08.2007 Dutch on the way up, says Selinger  
08.08.2007 Russia debuts as organizer of a World Grand Prix pool: press conference  
05.08.2007 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix: Cuba, Brazil and Russia are the first ladies after the starting week end  
05.08.2007 World Grand Prix 2007: third and last day of games in Poland  
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02.08.2007 FIVB World Grand Prix in Poland – Friday matches preview  
02.08.2007 World Grand Prix 2007 tournament in Poland: "Ready to play"  
02.08.2007 Cubans have golden glow ahead of Grand Prix  
01.08.2007 Hot stuff in Japan  
01.08.2007 Kazakhstan prepare for Grand Prix debut  
01.08.2007 Brazil still favourite in the opening Grand Prix clash in Verona  
01.08.2007 Italy ready for the Grand Prix debut. Barbolini targets the finals  
31.07.2007 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix: 12 of the world best Women's teams ready to challenge  
31.07.2007 Dominicans aim to keep climbing  
30.07.2007 Tokyo braces for Typhoon Nancy  
27.07.2007 Olympic memories spur Omura  
26.07.2007 Seven Olympians in Japan’s Grand Prix squad  
25.07.2007 China sets target at World Grand Prix: to enter top three  
29.06.2007 Volleyball Association of Hong Kong welcomes sponsor “HK Health Check” for the FIVB World Grand Prix  
28.06.2007 Dominican Republic and Brazil qualified to FIVB World Grand Prix  
26.06.2007 Cuba and USA qualified for 2008 FIVB World Grand Prix  
18.06.2007 TBS launch Grand Prix countdown  
23.05.2007 Cuba and the Dominican Republic to play in China in preparation for the 2007 World Grand Prix  
22.05.2007 Chinese team's plans for the 2007 season  
16.05.2007 World MVP targets top teams  
21.03.2007 Marco Bonitta appointed new head coach of the Polish National Women's team  
22.01.2007 Kazakhstan to debut in 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix as replacement for Thailand  
22.01.2007 Kazajstán debutará en el Grand Prix Mundial 2007 reemplazando a Tailandia  
26.10.2006 FIVB President announces Ningbo as host of 2007 World Grand Prix final round