Tokyo, Japan, August 23, 2009: Germany ended the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round on a high note with a 3-1 victory over China at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.
The Germans finished the week with a 2-3 win-loss record after their 25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 25-14 victory over a subdued China, who closed at 1-4.
Germany settled quickly, whereas China’s lethal weapon, Wang Yimei, was wild with her attacks in the early stages. With Christiane Furst immediately into her blocking groove and spikers Margareta Kozuch and Maren Brinker hungry for points, Germany led 8-3 at the first TTO. China replaced Wang with Chu Jinling on the restart.
A change of setter, Shen Jingsi for captain Wei Qiuyue, did not solve China’s problems, as Germany remained on top through to the second TTO, 16-7.
China’s serve reception was poor, and their block could not halt the flow of points from Kozuch or Corina Ssuschke, who closed the first set 25-14.
China needed to improve in all aspects, especially down the middle where Xue Ming and Ma Yunwen had been so effective against Japan the previous evening. There were signs of a recovery, but the game was still being played at Germany’s pace and they led 8-5 at the first TTO.
With Kozuch in full flow, the Germans were able to reach the second TTO with a two-point advantage, 16-14, but the Chinese were finally getting into the match and looking like a threat for the first time.
China built up a three-point lead at 22-19 and finished the second set 25-23 on their second set point, a right-wing smash from Ma.
The momentum had shifted in China’s favour at this point, evidenced when Zhao Yanni stopped Kozuch with a crunching block as China led 8-5 at the first TTO of the third set.
The Germans looked to be struggling, but refocused just in time to score nice points from Heike Beier’s clever shot placement and Furst’s elusive running, allied to the consistency of Kozuch and Brinker. Their defence rallied, too, and were busy digging as China celebrated a point that eventually went the other way on a spirited German counter that shocked the Chinese.
At 23-20, Germany turned to Furst to get the job done, and the reliable captain came up with two clinical winners from her lair on the right to close the third set 25-21, 2-1 Germany.
Germany wanted to end this in four, and a Beier ace lifted them to 6-1, and 8-2 at the first TTO as China spiked wildly. Even though the return of Wang gave China boost, the Germans were in no mood to let this one go. Ssuschke spiked ferociously at the net and Kozuch soared and smashed from the back court to take their team into the second TTO ahead 16-9.
The serving of setter Kathleen Weiss led to a China TO at 18-9, and Germany returned to end the match easily 25-14.