Sapporo, Japan, August 28, 2013 – Reigning two-time Olympic champions Brazil and Asian powerhouses China and Japan collected opening wins as the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals started in Sapporo on Wedneday.
China beat Serbia in first
match of World Grand Prix Finals
Preliminary winners China beat Serbia 3-1 in the opening match of the Finals. With the 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20 triumph, the Chinese women extended their winning streak connecting the preliminary rounds and the Finals to ten. Xu Yunli led China with 19 points, while Jovana Brakocevic scored 23 for Serbia. China outblocked Serbia 15-9 and outserved them 6-3. More
Jenny Lang Ping delighted with
her team’s performance
China coach Lang Ping was delighted with her side’s 16th straight win since she took the helm of the national team in April. “I asked the players to concentrate and get into the game as soon as possible,” she said. “The Serbia team is very powerful at the net, especially in hitting and blocking. And I asked my players to be patient and improve our cover systems. And they did a pretty good job. They served well and did pretty well during the game but still have some parts where they are inconsistent. When the other team served better, we still faced difficult moments.” More
Brazil rout USA in three sets
Brazil beat three-time defending World Grand Prix champions USA 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-10) in a rematch of the 2012 London Olympic Games final, which was also won by the Brazilians 3-1. Taking their encounter in the Preliminary Round into consideration, the USA team has lost all three recent matches against Brazil. Fernanda Rodrigues led Brazil with 13 points, while Nicole Fawcett was the top scorer for USA with 10 points. Brazil had 11 blocking points to USA’s seven, while both teams had three service points. More
Brazil's block and defence
almost perfect - USA captain
USA captain Kristin Hildebrand thought Brazil’s block and defence were almost perfect. ”It was very difficult to find our rhythm tonight. But we’ll be ready tomorrow and come back prepared for the rest of the tournament.” USA coach Karch Kiraly praised the overall performance of the South Americans. “Today, Brazil played very good volleyball. They beat us in every phase of the game,” he said. “They’re a very strong team. It’s a good learning experience for USA to face such strong play and hopefully it will make us stronger tomorrow. It’s a real challenge to play five strong teams in five days and the challenge is for us to bounce back after facing adversity like we did today.” More
Japan overcome Italy in three
Japan beat Italy 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-22) in the third match of the Finals of the FIVB World Grand Prix in Sapporo on Wednesday. Japan and Italy are ranked third and fourth, respectively, on the FIVB world ranking and before Wednesday, Japan had only lost one of their last five World Grand Prix matches against Italy. Japan were led by Yukiko Ebata (16 points) and Saori Kimura (15), while Valentina Diouf scored 14 points for Italy. More
Japanese team’s work after
Sendai round paid off
Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe attributed the surprisingly easy victory to the team’s work after the Preliminary Round in Sendai. “I knew the players were nervous because it was our first match so I’m happy for them that we won,” he said. “After the Sendai round, we needed to think about how to improve and we had a week off that gave us plenty of time to think about our game, and things worked out really well.” More
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