USA make history as 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix starts
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 2, 2013 – Defending champions the United States made history on the first day of the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix, winning their 17th consecutive World Grand Prix match as they beat Russia 3-1 (25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 25-12) on Friday.
World No. 1 USA have won the title three years in a row and are aiming for an unprecedented fourth straight title and haven’t lost a World Grand Prix match since losing to Brazil in their last pool match at the 2011 World Grand Prix Finals. Since then there were the successful 2011 semifinal and final matches plus USA's unbeaten run during the 2012 World Grand Prix. The Americans previously won 16 straight World Grand Prix matches spanning the 2010 and 2011 editions. Since 2010, the Americans are 39-4 in FIVB World Grand Prix matches with losses only to Brazil (2012 Final Round pool play), Serbia (2011 pool play), Poland (2010 pool play) and Germany (2010 pool play).
“Our players did a good job,” USA coach Karch Kiraly said. “We have a young team that is learning a lot this season. I am also learning a lot. It is my first season as head coach and Russia has a very good team. Tomorrow, I expect a really tough game against Poland, but we have to keep improving.”
The pace of the Americans’ game impressed Russia’s head coach Iury Marichev: “The United States have a very fast game. Many of our players had never seen a game as fast as the American one, especially our middle-blockers.”
Russia, who had their streak of opening FIVB World Grand Prix tournaments with a win snapped at 10 in a row, is ranked No. 6 in the world.
The Netherlands and Cuba kicked off the 2013 World Grand Prix in Macau, with the Dutch team winning 3-0.
“We were very excited to play the first match in the Grand Prix and could not wait to start the games,” said Netherlands coach Gido Vermeulen. “Our team played with very good discipline, good serve and good blocking strategy.”
Three teams made their debut in the World Grand Prix on Friday: Algeria, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
Only the Czechs were able to make a winning start, defeating Puerto Rico 3-0. Algeria lost 3-0 to last year’s bronze medallists Turkey, while Bulgaria fell to China by the same score.
Brazil, runners-up for the last three years, overcame Poland 3-1 at home, while Olympic bronze medallists Japan cruised past Thailand 3-1.
In other matches, Germany beat Kazakhstan 3-1, Italy beat Argentina 3-0 and Serbia defeated the Dominican Republic 3-0. Remarkably there were no five-set matches across the 10 opening fixtures.
The action continues on Saturday with another 10 matches.
LIVE SCOREBOX | WEEK 1
Top Scoring Performances
22 – Brankica Mihajlovic of Serbia v Dominican Republic (August 2)
20 – Yukiko Ebata of Japan v Thailand (August 2)
20 – Fernanda Rodrigues of Brazil v Poland (August 2)
20 – Margareta Kozuch of Germany v Kazakhstan (August 2)
19 – Nataliya Goncharova of Russia v USA (August 2)
18 – Zhu Ting of China v Bulgaria (August 2)
Top Blocking Performances
7 – Cristina Barreto of Brazil v Poland (August 2)
5 – Olga Nassedkina of Kazakhstan (August 2)
4 – Zhu Ting of China v Bulgaria (August 2)
Top Blocking Performances by Team
17 – Brazil v Poland (August 2)
17 – Kazakhstan v Germany (August 2)
15 – Czech Republic v Puerto Rico (August 2)
14 – China v Bulgaria (August 2)
14 – Poland v Brazil (August 2)
13 – USA v Russia (August 2)
Top Serving Performances
5 – Denise Hanke of Germany v Kazakhstan (August 2)
5 – Sana Jarlagassova of Kazakhstan v Germany (August 2)
Top Serving Performances by Team
8 – Bulgaria v China (August 2)
7 – Turkey v Algeria (August 2)
7 – Kazakhstan v Germany (August 2)
Highest Scorer by Round
Week 1: Brankica Mihajlovic of Serbia, 22 (v Dominican Republic)
Highest Set Score
Week 1: China v Bulgaria, 26-24 (August 2)
Highest Scoring Matches
Week 1: Germany v Kazakhstan, 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-17) – 182 points