Brazil, Netherlands lead race in World Grand Prix group play
Turkey, Serbia and Russia will aim to step up their game to maintain their top four rankings in Group 1, while Puerto Rico, Belgium and Peru will make their final run to claim the two remaining spots in the Group 2 Final Four in Poland.
Meanwhile, the Group 3 teams are on a break this week to prepare for their Final Four in Samokov, Bulgaria on August 16 and 17.
· Brazil have won their last 12 matches and have lost only one set to China this season; they have won 20 of their last 21 matches and lost only one match to Bulgaria last season.
· Kim Yeon-Koung’s serve is a factor - with the most aces and highest ace per set ratio.
· Russia have won nine of their last 10 World Grand Prix matches, only losing to Turkey in five sets.
· USA have won five of their last six matches in Brazil, only losing against Brazil in this span in the World Grand Prix final last year.
· The Dominican Republic have lost three matches in a row in straight sets so far, they will try to avoid a repeat of their 2004 blunder, when they lost five matches in straight sets.
· Germany have won 195 sets in the World Grand Prix and could become the third European and ninth team to win at least 200 sets.
· Serbia need to win seven more sets to hit the 100 mark for set-wins in the World Grand Prix.
· Turkey have played two five-setters in their three matches, each of them were played against former World Grand Prix winners.
· China have won their last six World Grand Prix matches in Hong Kong, their longest streak in this city.
· Italy have played 18 matches in Hong Kong, second most of all nations behind China.
· Since 2001, Japan have lost their last three World Grand Prix matches in Hong Kong.
· Thailand have won only one of their nine matches in Hong Kong since 2010.
· Argentina will host Pool L in Buenos Aires, they have never won on home soil.
· Canada stopped Argentina last week with a 3-2 victory to book their first ever World Grand Prix victory.
· If Cuba book more wins than Russia and USA this week, they will reclaim the outright third place in all-time wins in the World Grand Prix.
· Peru have a total of three victories in the World Grand Prix – one against the Netherlands in Manila, Philippines in 1994, and two this season on their home turf.
· Belgium are one of the two newcomers who have a positive balance in their debut season, with four wins and two losses.
· Pietersen’s consistency on the serve is a key factor in the Netherlands’ 6-0 record; she had 92 faultless serves, outscoring every other player in Group 2, who averaged 37 faultless attempts.
· Poland’s Agnieszka Kakolewska leads Group 2 with 24 stuff blocks; no other player had more than 16.
· Puerto Rico are on a four-match winning streak for the first time.
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