Lausanne, Switzerland, August 15, 2010 – World No. 5 Japan and world No. 11 Poland both collected victories on Sunday to move to the top of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix standings during the second weekend of the Preliminary Round as USA and Italy were also victorious, on a day when the Pool E matches (the Netherlands v the Dominican Republic and China v Brazil) in Macau were postponed to Monday out of respect to the victims of the devastating mudslides a week ago.
FIVB World Grand Prix official page
Sunday saw a day of mourning across China for the close to 2,000 people who have died or are missing from mudslides, which occurred last weekend in the Zhouqu county - northwest of the country. Initial discussions concerning the World Grand Prix matches in Macau included continuing the matches closed to spectators on Sunday but out of sympathy and respect of the mudslide victims, all four teams agreed to play the two games on Monday open to the public and will feature one minute silence prior to each game. The times of the matches have changed, with both games starting 90 minutes later - the Netherlands v the Dominican Republic now at 06:30 GMT (formerly at 05:00) and China v Brazil at 09:00 GMT (formerly at 07:30). FIVB President Mr. Jizhong Wei, who was in Macau, personally thanked all the teams for their understanding and respect of this extraordinary situation.
Meanwhile, Japan, who have yet to win a medal after participating in all 18 editions of the World Grand Prix, jumped to the top of the rankings with their fifth win from six matches on Sunday, beating Chinese Taipei in straight sets (28-26, 25-15, 25-11) at home in Okayama. Chinese Taipei came out strong but quickly ran out of steam as Japan took control of the match, particularly after claiming the first set, which saw Chinese Taipei score more than 20 points for the first time in this year’s tournament. “Our first set was not good because of poor reception and their good serve, but we won, so I'm happy,” Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe said.
Poland recovered following their loss to Japan on Saturday – their first and only loss of the tournament to date - by picking up a 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 29-31, 25-20) win over European rivals Germany also in Okayama. The Poles secured an early lead, picking up the first two sets narrowly before Germany clinched the third to narrowly pull the game back to within their grasp. However Poland regained control in the third to see out the win, taking them to second place on the table on points ratio while Germany drop to seventh.
Two-time champions USA came from one set down to beat NORCECA rivals Puerto Rico 3-1 (21-25 25-22 25-12 25-15) in Bangkok, Thailand, getting their campaign back on track with their fourth win of the campaign. The world No. 4 were stunned after Puerto Rico came out aggressively to take the first set before settling down to find their rhythm and the next three sets. "Puerto Rico's serves are great,” USA’s Logan Tom said. “We just tried to improve our game. It's hard to play them in the first two sets, but we pulled our game and did our best.”
In the last match on Sunday in Bangkok, Italy beat Thailand 3-1 (21-25 25-23 25-21 25-20).
World No. 2 China and defending champions and world No. 1 Brazil, both with four wins from five matches to date, can go top of the table depending on who is victorious on Monday.
World Grand Prix standings as of 15/08/2010