Lausanne, Switzerland, August 20, 2010 – Defending champions Brazil as well as Japan, Poland, the USA and Italy all booked their places in the Final Round of the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix alongside China as all six teams picked up wins on the opening day of the third weekend of the Preliminary Round on Friday.
FIVB World Grand Prix official page
China automatically qualified for the Final Round as hosts, but were joined by the other five teams who now sit far enough ahead on the World Grand Prix Preliminary Round standings to guarantee them a spot in Ningbo next week.
Italy opened proceedings with an emphatic straight sets (29-27, 25-16, 25-15) victory over the Netherlands in Tokyo, extinguishing any hope the Dutch had of obtaining a place in the Final Round. Serena Ortolani led Italy with 16 points, while Manon Flier was the top scorer for the Netherlands with 14. There was little to separate the two teams early on, and each set was close up until the first technical timeout. However Italy used the experience that saw them capture the 2009 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup to clinch the win.
In the day’s second match, USA scored a 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-13) win over Germany in Hong Kong, ending any hopes last year’s bronze medallists had of reaching the Final Round. Germany struggled to find their rhythm in the first set as the USA strolled to an early lead. However Germany improved their defence to make the second set closer before the Americans closed out their opponents attack. Reception and service errors damaged Germany’s chances in the third as the world No. 4 clinched the set and the match.
“Our team played very well today,” Hugh McCutcheon, USA coach said. “We were strong in tactics and technical skills. We are making improvement from weekend to weekend.”
Eight-time champions Brazil secured their berth in Ningbo with a convincing straight sets (25-18, 25-13, 25-20) win over Puerto Rico in Chinese Taipei in the third match of the day. Brazil began at a high intensity and never looked back despite Puerto Rico constantly adjusting their game plan to match the defending champions. With the win Brazil stay top of the table and will want to continue their form when they arrive in China next week.
Japan used home advantage to see off the Dominican Republic in Tokyo as they picked up a 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 31-29, 25-20) win to improve their record to 6-1. Japan rushed out to an early lead to pick up the first set but were pulled back by the Dominicans in the second as the scores were brought level. A tight third set followed, which was picked up by the hosts, and from there they stormed to the win.
"Today, we won 3-1, but I feel some aspects of today's match weren't so good,” Masayoshi Manabe, Japan coach said. “For example, we allowed so many points when our service reception didn't work. I don't know how many points we lost today, but we'll try to do better tomorrow with what we learned from today's match."
In other results, Poland denied Chinese Taipei a first FIVB World Grand Prix win as they won 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-9) in Taiwan to secure a place in the next stage while Final Round hosts China ended the day with a 3-1 (16-25, 27-25 25-23, 25-15) win over Thailand in front of their home fans in Hong Kong.
“The Thai team played very well and gave us a lot of pressure in the beginning,” China captain Wei Qiuyue said. “We have been preparing for this match for the last two weeks, yet there are still problems existing. We hope to play better in tomorrow’s match.”
Saturday will see the Dominican Republic face the Netherlands, Thailand play the USA, Puerto Rico battle Poland, China clash with Germany, Japan lock horns with Italy and Chinese Taipei search for their first win against world No. 1 Brazil.