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Kazakhstan beat Algeria in first WGP play-off

Inna Matveyeva scored a game high 18 points

Blida, Algeria May 12, 2011 – Inna Matveyeva scored a game high 18 points as Kazakhstan beat Algeria in straight sets 25-11, 25-13, 25-21 in the first of two play-off matches in Blida, Algeria for the right to participate in the 2011 World Grand Prix.

Score sheet      Tournament page

The 32-year-old former captain was in devastating form as Kazakhstan, ranked 19th in the world, started too strongly for their 15th ranked opponents racing to a first set win before comfortably wrapping up the second. Increased vocal support from the home fans saw Algeria finally click and take advantage of some sloppy Kazakhstan play at the net to lead 9-6 early in the third set however normal course soon resumed and at 22-17, Kazakhstan had the victory sewn up, making it two wins from two matches in the history between these two nations with Kazakhstan having beaten Algeria in four sets at the 2008 Olympic Games.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday for the 16th and final spot in this year’s World Grand Prix, which is set to run from August 5 to 21 with the final round being held in Macau, China for the first time since 2001 from August 24 to 28. It is the first time a playoff is being used for the World Grand Prix.

Kazakhstan just need to win one set on Saturday to compete in their third World Grand Prix. Their previous two outings were in 2007 and 2008 when they finished 10th and 12th respectively. Most recently they competed at the 2010 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan, finishing 21st after failing to win a match, despite pushing Cuba to five sets.

Algeria have never competed in the World Grand Prix and if they qualify will become the first African side to do so since the tournament’s inception in 1993. The team have peaked in recent years and are now considered one of the top teams in Africa, most recently winning the 2009 African Continental Championship. However that success has yet to transpire to the world stage as they also finished 21st at last year’s Women’s World Championship.


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