Ningbo, China, August 25, 2010 - Italy swept past China in straight sets in their opening match of the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round here on Wednesday. The World Grand Champions Cup winners chalked up the 25-20, 25-16, 25-21 victory in just 66 minutes.
Both teams started aggressively with Italy holding a narrow lead (8-6) at the first TTO. China then made two receiving errors as the Italians enlarged their advantage to 18-12. After China coach Wang Baoquan called a timeout, his team won four points in a row to make it 18-16. But Italy maintained their poise and didn't let China to get closer. When Italy was 24-20 in front, Francesca Piccinini jumped high to spike hard in the middle court for the winner.
FIVB World Grand Prix
Italy went off to a 7-2 lead in the second set, but China, cheered on by the screaming home fans, refused to surrender easily and gradually clawed back to 13-14. The Italians held the nerves and soon restored their lead thanks to efficient blocking and powerful spiking.
Going down two sets, China played cool under pressure to take a commanding 9-4 lead. But the Italians staged a 6-0 run to overtake the lead at 10-9. Inspired by star spiker Wang Yimei, China regained the lead at 14-13 but could not hold onto it after the Italian strengthened defence and counter-attacked well. When Italy was leading 24-21, Piccinini leaped from the left for a deadly spike to close out the victory.
This result not only gives Italy an excellent start in the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round but also gives them the advantage in the World Grand Prix overall win: loss record with China which now stands 9:8.