FIVB - Volleyball World Grand Prix

Press release

China beat Serbia in first match of World Grand Prix Finals

Lei Zhang serves against Serbia on Wednesday

Sapporo, Japan, August 28, 2013 – China beat Serbia 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20) in the opening match of the Finals of the FIVB World Grand Prix in Sapporo on Wednesday.

Xu Yunli led China with 19 points, while Jovana Brakocevic scored 23 for Serbia. 

China outblocked Serbia 15-9 and outserved them 6-3.

Serbia were blocked twice in the first four points and coach Zoran Terzic called his players off for a talk. Serbia won the next six points and China coach Lang Ping dragged her players off the court. Serbia stretched their lead to four points after a couple of China errors, but China fought back on the back of two good blocks and an ace by Zhang Lei. Some brilliant Chinese defense – including a spectacular, diving reverse save by libero Zhang Xian – put China in the driving seat and some good spikes by Xu Yunli helped China to a two-point lead at the second technical timeout. Some hefty kills by Brankica Mihajlovic gave Serbia some hope but after a huge hit by Xu, Terzic called another timeout. China moved into a five-point lead at 23-18 and after a short wobble – and China’s second timeout at 23-20 – a spike by Hui Ruoqi brought up setpoint. Zhang Lei then hammered a shot down the middle to put China 1-0 up.

After Xu made two good blocks at the start of the second set, Jovana Brakocevic started to find her range and Serbia led by two at the first TTO. When they went four points up at 12-8 after a bomb by Brakocevic, Lang Ping called a timeout. Serbia then got sloppy and Terzic hauled his players off at 13-13. Two big blows by Brakocevic saw Serbia three points ahead at the second TTO and they managed to hold on to the end, Brakocevic scoring the last three points to hold off China’s late rally.

Serbia’s coach wasn’t happy at the start of the third set as his team fell behind 7-2. The first challenged call of the Finals came on the next point when Serbia asked for a review and were successful when a China spike was deemed to have hit the antenna. But Serbia’s luck didn’t change and Terzic called a timeout after his team dropped three straight points to fall 14-6 behind. Lefty Zeng Chunlei added some power to China’s offence and China were 10 points ahead at 23-13. After a brief run by Serbia, a spike by Yang Junjing and a soft tipover by Xu put China 2-1 up. 

Serbia started the fourth set positively with two brutal blows by Natasa Krsmanovic and Brakocevic and an amazing recovery shot by Maja Ognjenovic. But the two teams shared a number of errors and there was only a point in it at the first TTO when China were in front. China were successful in the second video challenge of the match and that helped them into a five-point lead at the second TTO. Serbia showed glimpses of their attacking form but the gap was too big to close against the resilient Chinese. A block by Yin Na brought matchpoint and Xu finished things off.

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