Sapporo, Japan, August 29, 2013 – Reigning Olympic champions Brazil and preliminary round winners China both collected their second straight wins at the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals here on Thursday while the United States had their chance of title defending diminished after suffering a second loss in two days.
Following Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat to Brazil, the USA team, who had clinched three gold medals at the World Grand Prix Finals in the last three years, fell to European champions Serbia in four sets. It was also the first defeat of the USA to a team other than Brazil since losing back-to-back matches against Cuba and Italy in 2008.
Later on Wednesday, Hui Ruoqi scored 19 points and the 18-year-old Zhu Ting came from the bench to contribute 10 points to help China extend their winning streak in the World Grand Prix preliminaries and World Grand Prix Finals to 11. The Chinese women were one step away from their record 12-0 run in 2007-2008. With the hard fought victory in two hours and seven minutes, China also snapped a three-match losing streak against Italy in World Grand Prix competitions.
In the last match of the day, Brazil clean swept Japan 3-0 for their 10th victory in 11 matches in the World Grand Prix this season. Their only loss this year was a 3-1 setack at the hands of Bulgaria.
Serbia edge USA 3-1 to pick up first win
Serbia had to fight hard to overcome USA 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23) in the Final Round of the FIVB World Grand Prix at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center on Thursday. Serbia improved to 1-1 while defending champions USA dropped to 0-2. Jovana Brakocevic scored 22 points for Serbia while teammate Brankica Mihajlovic had 20. For USA, Kelly Murphy led the team with 23 points. Serbia had nine blocking points – including five by captain Maja Ognjenovic – while the Americans had seven. Serbia had the edge in service points, seven to six. more
Terzic happy with response from his team
Serbia coach Zoran Terzic was happy with how his side reacted to a disappointing 3-1 loss to China on Wednesday. “Of course, I must be very satisfied to win against a strong team like USA. I’m also very happy that we played very well today after yesterday’s game when we didn’t play so well,” he said. “It was a little hard to prepare the team to play another strong opponent but we really made a good job today.” more
China win five-set thriller against Italy
China fought a tough battle with Italy and prevailed 3-2 (28-30, 25-22, 26-28, 25-13, 15-10) in the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center on Thursday. China improved to 2-0 while Italy fell to 0-2. China were led by Hui Ruoqi with 19 points. Six Chinese players reached double figures. The Italians’ top scorer was Valentina Diouf with 26 points. Italy had the advantage in blocking points, 10-9, while China prevailed in serving 8-5. more
We put on a great match for the spectators: Lang Ping
China coach Lang Ping was happy that her team and Italy put on a great match for the spectators. “I think today we gave the audience a great competition and it was very valuable for our players to learn from these games,” she said. “In sets one and three we had chances to close the game but we missed those opportunities, but we want to use this experience for the future. We used lots of players today and it’s good they had opportunities to play against Italy because they’re a great team. Hopefully, they can grow and learn from these games.” more
Brazil collect second straight-set win
Brazil clean swept Japan 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-17) for their second straight-set win in the 2013 World Grand Prix Finals at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center. Brazil improved to 2-0 while Japan fell to 1-1. Brazil had 15 blocking points to Japan’s seven, but Japan dominated serving 7-1. Gabriela Guimaraes was Brazil’s top scorer with 19 points while Yukiko Ebata led Japan with 11. more
Beating Japan not an easy task
Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said it was not an easy win. “Japan have good technique and concentration and a good variety of combinations,” he said. “They are good at seeking out our weak points and attacking them, so it was hard to win today.” While Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe thought the strong blocking of Brazil made it difficult for Japan. “We were OK up to the second technical timeout but then we started dropping points as Brazil improved its block,” he said. “There’s a big difference between Japan and Brazil because the Brazilians are so tall and have longer arms; this difference is especially noticeable in spiking and blocking.” More
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