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Women s Olympic Games 2004 - Press Conference

Press conference

China beat U.S.A. 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18) - duration 1:58
14-Aug, start time: 21:30, end time: 23:28 - Attendance: 2'300
City: Athens; Hall : Peace and Friendship Stadium
China overcome Zhao injury to beat USA
In the final match on the first day of the women's competition China beat USA in a thrilling four set match, despite losing their key 1.97cm player Zhao when she aggravated a calf injury, which she originally suffered earlier in the year.

The 22-year-old Zhao was making her comeback at this tournament but limped off the court after only two points. However, that didn't disrupt China's game and the world number three claimed a great win over a top opponent, a win that would have lifted their morale sky high.

The duel offered a spectacle of high quality with China appearing a little more precise in all facets of the match to win the first big clash of the tournament.

The Chinese team began well and with good serving and quick attacks they took the early lead. But a late rally by the United States threatened to turn everything around. However, China proved to be calm and focused in the crucial moments when the US cut the margin to 21-20 and final sailed to the win, 25-21.

The second set was an unbelievable point-by-point battle that lasted 29 minutes. Ogonna NNAMANI came from the bench to help the US team with seven points in that period.
With the score tied at 23-23 points, the American triple block was the deciding factor twice: at first to stop Hao YANG's spike to win the 24th point, and secondly to secure the win after forcing Lina WANG to spike outside the lines in the last rally.

China took lead from the beginning of the third set. The Americans managed to keep in touch, but never turned things around. Guided by Hao YANG the Chinese team took the 2-1 set advantage after winning the third 25-22.

The fourth set was a one-team deal. China took once again the early lead and the US were struggling to follow before finally collapsing to lose 25-18.

Hao Yang, Ping Zhang and Lina WANG were the leading Chinese scorers with 20, 17 and 12 points respectively, while the Americans were offensively guided by TOM (14 points), Danielle SCOTT (11) and key substitute NNAMANI (9).

ONS sk/sad