Brazil two sets away from ninth World Grand Prix title
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 31, 2013 – The unbeaten China and Brazil will fight for the championship of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals on Sunday while Serbia and Japan keep their chance of winning the bronze into last day's contention against Italy and the USA respectively.
Of the six participating teams, only defending champions USA have yet to find a win and they will look to snap a four-match losing streak in the World Grand Prix Finals in Sapporo when facing the host Sunday evening in the last match of the day.
Brazil, who have a record eight World Grand Prix titles to their name, need to win two sets to secure their first title since 2009. The Brazilian women have won all four of their matches in the Finals so far. They are the only team that have not lost a set in Sapporo and are currently leading the rankings with 12 points. China, who have extended their winning streak in this year's World Grand Prix to 13 with a 3-2 victory over the host Japan Saturday evening, are two points behind with four wins from as many matches in the Finals. In what is expected to be the "final" against Brazil, China need to beat the reigning Olympic champions 3-0 or 3-1 to capture their first World Grand Prix title since 2003.
Brazil are on a eight match winning streak in the World Grand Prix Finals, their second longest run of wins in the Finals, with their record being 10 wins in 2008/2009.
Saturday was an exciting day, featuring two five-set thrillers. China, led by coach Lang Ping, took their 13th straight World Grand Prix win after outlasting Japan while Italy beat off four match points to rally past the USA for their first win in four tries in this World Grand Prix Finals. Brazil defeated Serbia in straight sets to claim their 201st World Grand Prix win, becoming the first team ever to reach this milestone. China is second with 166 wins.
In Sunday’s matches, Italy will meet Serbia, a team they have faced only once before in the World Grand Prix in the 2012 preliminary round, when they lost to the European champions 3-0. These two teams also went head-to-head in the 2007 European Championships (final), the 2008 Olympic Games, the 2009 European Championships and the 2010 World Championships. Italy won all these meetings in straight sets.
China will face Brazil for the 32th time in World Grand Prix play. China have lost to Brazil in their last eight World Grand Prix meetings. In general, China are on a 10-21 win-loss record against Brazil.
Japan and the US will face each other for the fifth time in a World Grand Prix Finals and USA have won all four previous encounters.
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2013 World Grand Prix Finals page
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