Ningbo, China, August 26, 2010 - China produced an impressive performance to outgun Japan 3-1 on Thursday in the FIVB World Grand Prix finals.
Inspired by the deafening cheers of more than 3,000 Chinese fans, the hosts beat Japan 29-27, 23-25, 25-20 and 25-19 for their first victory in the six-team round-robin competition. China went down to Italy in three sets Wednesday in their opening match.
The start of the first set turned out to be a tit-for-tat battle and the distance between the two teams never exceeded two points until the first TTO, where Japan was 8-7 in front. China coach Wang Baoquan was forced to call a timeout after the Japanese jumped to 13-9 lead. After the break, the Chinese team managed to level at 17-17. The battle became even more heated in the closing moments as China saved two set points before claiming the frame on its third set point.
FIVB World Grand Prix
Japan opened the second set with a 6-3 lead. They made several receiving and spiking errors to help China take over the lead at 14-12. The lead then changed hands three times before Yamamoto Ai scored two straight points to help Japan take the set 25-23.
The Chinese team came back to life in the third set to establish an early led of 4-0. With Wang Yimei and Chen Liyi spiking consistently from the flanks, China pulled away to 12-6 before a dogged Japan, led by its wing hitter Kimura Saori, fought hard to level at 16-16. When leading by 22-20, China won three points in a row to capture the set.
In the fourth set, Japan went to the first TTO with an 8-6 lead. From then on, however, the Chinese took the upper hand on back of fast attacks and solid blocks and eventually captured the set without ease.
The hosts will face Poland while Japan battle against Italy on Friday