Sapporo, Japan, August 31, 2013 – China and Brazil both posted their fourth straight victory at the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals here on Saturday to make their meeting in the last round on Sunday the title contention of the tournament.
Sheilla Castro scored 19 points and Gabriela Braga Guimaraes and Fernanda Rodrigues added 14 and 13 respectively to help Brazil claim their fourth win in a row in the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals. Beating Serbia 27-25, 25-21 and 25-22 in less than one hour and a half, the Brazilian women have yet to drop a set in four matches.
China outlasted Japan 3-2 in a five-set thirller later on Saturday to extend their winning streak in this year’s World Grand Prix to a record 13. Zhu Ting scored 33 as the Chinese women took a sweet revenge on their 3-2 loss to the Japanese in the London Olympic quarter-finals last year.
In a match between two teams sharing an 0-3 record before Saturday’s action, Italy beat off four match points to rally past the United State 3-2 for their first victory in the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals. With the 19-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18 and 16-14 triumph in two hours and seven minutes, the Italian women snapped a five-match losing streak to the USA team in the World Grand Prix while the three-time defending World Grand Prix champions fell to 0-4. Converting on 25 of 51 spiking opportunities, Valentina Diouf of Italy finished with 31 points for Italy.
With only the last round of action left in the six-team round-robin Finals, Brazil led the standings with 12 points from four 3-0 wins, followed by China on 10 points. Brazil will play China Sunday afternoon for their first World Grand Prix title since 2009 while Serbia and Japan face Italy and the winless USA respectively.
Italy save four match points before beating USA 3-2
Italy saved four match points before edging USA 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 16-14) on the fourth day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center on Saturday. It was Italy’s first win of this year’s Finals, while defending champions USA fell to 0-4. Both were out of the running for the title following losses in the opening three days. Valentina Diouf had a match-high 31 points for Italy, while USA were led by Kristin Hildebrand with 18 points. The teams were level on blocking points with 12 each, while USA had the edge in service points 6-2. Before Saturday’s match, USA had won their last five World Grand Prix matches against Italy. More
We thought we had won the match: USA coach
USA coach Karch Kiraly said it was an extremely disappointing loss. “Our team was in a great position to win and we thought we did win on the play the referee called the other way. Then we weren’t able to close the match out after working hard to put ourselves in that position,” he said. “Congratulations to Italy for staying with it and coming back from a deficit at the end.” Italy captain Martina Guiggi was delighted with the come-from-behind victory. “I’m really happy about the result. We never gave up and because we didn’t give up something changed at the end of the game,” she said. “We were able to handle difficult balls and we could spike well and we had better reception than yesterday.” More
Brazil maintain perfect record
Tournament leaders Brazil maintained their 100 per cent record in the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals on Saturday with a 3-0 (27-25, 25-21, 25-22) win over Serbia at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center. It was Brazil’s fourth straight 3-0 win. Serbia dropped to 2-2. Brazil were led by Sheilla Castro with 19 points, while Serbia’s top scorer was Ana Bjelic, also with 19 points.Brazil came up with 15 blocking points to Serbia’s six. Serbia had the edge on service aces 4-3. More
Zoran changed all my plans: Ze Roberto
Brazil coach Ze Roberto was satisfied with how his team responded to the change of Serbia’s starting line-up. “I’m very happy about the game. Zoran changed all my plans. We studied to play with another seven players but he changed all the players, so in the beginning we were a bit confused, but after that we adjusted and I was very happy with our block,” he said. “It was important to win this match and to come to the final match against China. We have a very important match tomorrow. I think China are stronger than at the Olympic Games. I think the key for China is the No. 2 Zhu Ting. The left-handed player (Zeng Chunlei) played very well, too. And the setter and the middle blockers did a good job. They have a very strong team right now. It’s going to be difficult to beat them but we have to try.” More
China stay second after thrilling 3-2 win over Japan
China had to fight hard to maintain their unbeaten record in the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals on Saturday as Japan fought them all the way. China won 3-2 (25-16, 18-25, 26-24, 21-25, 15-13) at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center and now face a showdown with Brazil on Sunday for the title. China are 4-0 and have 10 points, while Brazil have 12 points from a similar record. Serbia are third on six points and Japan fourth on four points. Italy are fifth with three points and USA bottom with one point. It was China’s 19th win over Japan in the World Grand Prix in 20 meetings. China set a team record for consecutive wins in the World Grand Prix at 13. Yukiko Ebata was the top scorer in the match with 36 points, while the top scorer for China was Zhu Ting with 33. Japan had the advantage in blocking points 10-9 and in service points 8-7. Japan made 23 errors to China’s 15. More
We can learn a lot from Japan: China coach Lang Ping
China coach Lang Ping said her team had a lot to learn from Japan. “We prepared for a game like this. Japan is a great team, is very well organized, fast and have great ball control,” she said. “They have many good things that we don’t have. I think we were looking forward to this game. I told my players Japan are a great team and it’s their home court and there will be a lot of noise. I said, ‘You must concentrate on the game.’ I want to learn from this game. We need to learn many things from Japan. It was a great performance from all the fans and I want to thank the fans for cheering all the athletes.” More
LIVE SCOREBOX | FINALS
Top Scoring Performances
36 – Yukiko Ebata of Japan v China (August 31)
33 – Zhu Ting of China v Japan (August 31)
31 – Valentina Diouf of Italy v USA (August 31)
Top Blocking Performances
7 – Xu Yunli of China v Serbia (August 28)
6 – Thaisa Menezes of Brazil v Italy (August 30)
6 – Thaisa Menezes of Brazil v Japan (August 29)
5 – Thaisa Menezes of Brazil v Serbia (August 31)
5 – Valentina Diouf of Italy v USA (August 31)
5 – Iwasaka Nana of Japan v Italy (August 28)
5 – Maja Ognjenovic of Serbia v USA (August 29)
Top Blocking Performances by team
15 – Brazil v Serbia (August 31)
15 – Brazil v Japan (August 29)
15 – China v Serbia (August 28)
14 – Brazil v Italy (August 30)
13 – Brazil v USA (August 28)
Top Serving Performance
5 – Haruka Miyashita of Japan v China (August 31)
5 – Thaisa Menezes of Brazil v Italy (August 30)
3 – Shen Jingsi of China v Japan (August 31)
3 – Jovana Brakocevic of Serbia v USA (August 29)
3 – Yang Junjing of China v Italy (August 29)
3 – Valentina Diouf of Italy v China (August 29)
3 – Miyashita Haruka of Japan v Brazil (August 29)
3 – Xu Yunli of China v Serbia (August 28)
3 – Kimura Saori of Japan v Italy (August 28)
Top Serving Performances by team
13 – Brazil v Italy (August 30)
8 – Japan v China (August 31)
8 – China v Italy (August 29)
8 – Japan v Italy (August 28)
7 – China v Japan (August 31)
7 – Serbia v USA (August 29)
7 – Japan v Brazil (August 29)
Highest Scorer by week
Week 1: Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata of Poland, 41 v Russia (August 4)
Week 2: Yukiko Ebata of Japan, 28 v Kazakhstan (August 10)
Week 3: Nataliya Goncharova of Russia, 31 v Thailand (August 18)
Finals: Yukiko Ebata of Japan, 36 v China (August 31)
Highest Set Score
Week 1: Poland v Russia, 30-28 (August 4)
Japan v Turkey, 30-28 (August 4)
Week 2: Argentina v Turkey, 36-34 (August 9)
Week 3: Japan v Bulgaria, 29-31 (August 16)
Week 3: Italy v Dominican Republic, 30-32 (August 17)
Finals: Italy v China, 30-28 (August 29)
Italy v China, 28-26 (August 29)
Highest Scoring Matches
Week 1: Russia v Poland, 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 29-27, 28-30, 15-13) – 235 points
Week 2: Bulgaria v Dominican Republic, 2-3 (22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 30-28, 14-16) - 226 points
Week 3: Italy v Dominican Republic, 3-2 (25-21, 25-19, 30-32, 24-26, 11-15) - 228 points
Finals: Italy v China 2-3 (30-28, 22-25, 28-26, 13-25, 10-15) – 222 points
2013 World Grand Prix Finals page
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