Lausanne, Switzerland, August 6, 2010 – Brazil began their defense of the FIVB World Grand Prix with a convincing win over Chinese Taipei at home in Sao Carlos on Friday as Italy were stunned by Japan while the Netherlands, China, USA, and Poland also picked up victories on the opening day of the 2010 edition of the tournament.
2010 World Grand Prix
The Netherlands opened the competition with a straight-sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-23) win over Thailand in Chengdu, China, where FIVB President Mr. Jizhong Wei was in attendance. Thailand took the lead early on in all three sets but couldn’t quite maintain momentum as the 2007 champions roared back on each occasion.
China began their campaign well with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-22) win over Puerto Rico. The two sides have never met in a FIVB competition before and the first set saw both sides match each other point for point. However China eventually pulled ahead and rarely looked back, convincingly taking the second set before edging the third.
Brazil opened proceedings in Sao Carlos with a solid straight-sets (25-15, 25-19, 25-12) win over Chinese Taipei, denying the visiting side a first FIVB World Grand Prix victory. Brazilian middle blocker Thaisa Menezes topped the scores with then points while Chinese Taipei opposite Chen Wan Ting scored eight for the visitors. Despite some issues with penetrating the Chinese Taipei block in the second set, Brazil’s attacking game easily helped them pick up the win.
"I liked the way we played today,” Brazil coach José Roberto Guimarães said. “In the second set we had problems with our pass but we executed our relation between blocking and digging well."
Elsewhere, the USA overcame the Dominican Republic 3-1 (26-24, 22-25, 25-14, 25-19) to get their campaign off to a good start. Both sides struggled in attack in a tight contest. The U.S. took the early lead after coming out strong before the Dominicans pulled a set back. However the USA regrouped and managed to see out the game.
"It is always four or five set games with Dominican Republic, so we knew it would be a challenge," American captain Jennifer Tamas said. "We are happy with the result, it was a good start."
Meanwhile Japan delivered the first shock of the tournament with a stunning win over Italy, throwing the competition wide open already. In a tight match which saw Japan overcome the Europeans 3-1 (30-28, 27-29, 25-20, 25-13), Japanese wing spiker Saori Kimura was an inspiration, scoring 28 points for the Asian team.
In the day's final match Poland fought off a determined German side to record their first win of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix in front of their home fans with a 3-1 (25-18, 16-25, 25-22, 26-24) victory. Despite a second set setback, the Poles maintained composure to see out the game and get their campaign off to the perfect start.
Saturday see's Puerto Rico face the Netherlands, Thailand play China, Brazil battle Japan, Poland play the Dominican Republic, Chinese Taipei face Italy and the USA lock horns with Germany.