Asian sides top European counterparts on World Grand Prix Finals opener
Meanwhile, 2012 World Grand Prix third placers Turkey stunned defending champions Brazil in a five-setter.
After a second place finish in the Intercontinental Round with a formidable line-up, China opened their Final Six bid with an unexpectedly younger squad. Nonetheless the Asian powerhouse gained positive results, winning 3-1 against debutants Belgium in the first match.
Turkey then tasted their first ever victory against nine-time winners Brazil in a cardiac five-setter. Brazil are the latest team in Turkey’s list of conquests on former World Grand Prix winners, joining China, Cuba, Russia and USA. The Netherlands are the only remaining team in the list of six World Grand Prix winners, whom Turkey have not defeated since they joined in 2008.
Japan used its excellent defence to counter the powerful hitters of Russia and record a 3-1 victory, avenging their 3-1 loss to the same squad in the Intercontinental Round.
• China have now won their last three meetings with European sides in the Final Round of the competition.
• China have won two of their six World Grand Prix matches in Tokyo; their last one was in 2009.
• Belgian top scorer Lise Van Hecke is out of play due to injury.
• Turkey ended Brazil’s 18-match winning streak in the World Grand Prix and handed them their first loss since August 2013.
• Only three teams have beaten Brazil in their last 56 World Grand Prix matches – USA, Bulgaria and Turkey.
• Turkey ended Brazil’s unbeaten run of 20 victories in World Grand Prix matches played in Tokyo.
• Japan are on a five-match winning streak after losing their first five matches this season.
• Russia have now lost four of their six World Grand Prix encounters with Japan played in Tokyo.
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