Ningbo, China, August 28, 2010 - USA fended off a spirited challenge from China on Saturday to continue their unbeaten run at the FIVB World Grand Prix finals. With a 25-21, 27-25, 25-22 victory, the Americans improved their win-loss record to 4-0 at the six-team round-robin tournament and are on the verge of winning the World Grand Prix finals title for the first time since 2001. The hosts dropped to 2-2 in win-loss record.
FIVB World Grand Prix
USA took no notice of the huge crowd cheering for China as they matched the strength that China had shown early in the first set. After USA went 14-11 ahead, China coach Wang Baoquan called the first TO. Star spiker Wang Yimei then inspired a 7-4 run for China to equalize 18-18. But the Americans were quick to restore their lead and when they were 24-21 up, Destinee Hooker, who had been impressive on the right side of the USA offence, smashed a heavy spike in the middle court to claim the set.
China edged 8-7 ahead into the first TTO of the second set, but China's errors in serving and spiking, combined with two brilliant blocks by Hooker, allowed the Americans to overtake the lead at 15-11. Then the scores were tied a number of times as the battle heated up. Trailing by 23-24, USA saved a set point before wrapping it up 27-25.
The Chinese team refused to give up in the third set, relying on Wang's powerful spikes to spark a comeback halfway. But with Hooker unstoppable in attacking and Foluke Akinradewo efficient in blocking, USA took control towards the end and clinched victory on an Akinradewo block.