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World Grand Prix Week 2: Five teams put undefeated records on the line

European champions Serbia will put their 2013 World Grand Prix undefeated record on the line when they host three-time defending champions USA, the Netherlands and Algeria in Belgrade starting on Friday
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 7, 2013 - Japan, China, Italy, Serbia and Brazil: the five undefeated teams after the first weekend of action, line up for their next test as the World Grand Prix moves into the second of its three Preliminary Round weekends starting on Friday.

A particularly difficult task awaits European champions Serbia. The team from the Balkans will face defending champions USA on home soil in Belgrade. Under new star coach Karch Kiraly, the Americans lost 3-1 to Olympic champions Brazil on the opening weekend – a defeat that brought to an end a World Grand Prix record run of 18 consecutive wins.

“We were sad, but this defeat was a lesson for the next matches,” USA captain Kristin Hildebrand said: “We are now even more focused on winning the next matches.” The Olympic silver medallists and world No. 1 have won the last three editions of the World Grand Prix and have their eye on a record fourth-successive title. This time however, eight-time record winners Brazil have set their sights on a shift in the balance of power: having opened with three wins, the world No. 2 are aiming for another three victories in Puerto Rico this weekend – however, they will face another two teams that also have two wins to their name, in the form of the Dominican Republic and Bulgaria.

“Qualifying for the Finals will be really tough. However, we have had good results and we can definitely end the first phase in the top six,” Brazil coach Ze Roberto said. The top five teams after the Preliminary Round are guaranteed to progress to the Finals. Also guaranteed a place at the Finals are the hosts: the World Grand Prix Finals will return to Japan for the first time since 2009 and take place in Sapporo from August 28 to September 1.

Olympic bronze medallists Japan are also among the five undefeated teams after the opening weekend. As such, sixth place in the Preliminary Round, which this year features a record 20 teams, should be sufficient to guarantee a place at the Finals. Current overall leaders Japan will be put to the test in Plock against hosts Poland, Kazakhstan and Germany. Coach Masayoshi Manabe’s team has particular respect for Germany, who have their sights set on gold at the European Championships on their own soil at the start of September. “Our young team will have to concentrate in the match against Germany.”

After opening with two defeats, Germany has almost lost sight of its goal: a ticket for the Finals. Another team in the same predicament is Poland – one of five winless teams after the first week of the World Grand Prix. In contrast, the Chinese, who also have home advantage in Hong Kong this weekend, are yet to suffer a defeat. Their toughest opponents could well be the third-placed team in last year’s World Grand Prix: Turkey. The surprise package of last year’s tournament are well positioned with two wins to their name. China’s new star trainer Lang Ping is expecting a tough duel and is set to make some changes in personnel: “We have to improve in many areas in the upcoming stages of the tournament, especially the coordination of players. We plan to examine a different team formation and to bring back some of the more familiar players such as Hui Ruoqi, Yin Na, Zeng Chunlei, Shan Danna to the line-up. This way, all the players will have an opportunity to train and compete in the tournament.”

The fifth undefeated team, Italy, also have a tough assignment in their pool this weekend. The group in Ekaterinburg, Russia pits them against last year’s outstanding performers Thailand, who recorded their best ever result in 2012 finishing fourth, winless former World Grand Prix winners Cuba, and Russia. The reigning two-time world champions are out for revenge after opening with two unexpected defeats. “We will continue to improve and hope to profit from our home advantage,” Russian coach Iuriy Marichev said.

With 30 matches in five venues around the world, the second week of the Preliminary Round promises more great volleyball action for the many fans packed into the halls and the millions watching on TV and online.

No PhaseDateLocal
TeamsLive Score
City Description Press
Stats Photos
55 J 09/08 17:00 11:00ITA-RUSView EkaterinburgView
56 J 09/08 19:30 13:30CUB-THAView EkaterinburgView
31 F 09/08 17:30 15:30SRB-NEDView BelgradeView
43 H 09/08 17:30 15:30GER-JPNView PlockView
44 H 09/08 20:00 18:00POL-KAZView PlockView
32 F 09/08 20:15 18:15ALG-USAView BelgradeView
37 G 09/08 17:00 21:00DOM-BRAView MayaguezView
38 G 09/08 20:00 00:00PUR-BULView MayaguezView
49 I 09/08 18:00 02:00TUR-ARGView Hong KongView
50 I 09/08 20:30 04:30CHN-CZEView Hong KongView
57 J 10/08 17:00 11:00THA-RUSView EkaterinburgView
58 J 10/08 19:30 13:30CUB-ITAView EkaterinburgView
33 F 10/08 17:30 15:30ALG-SRBView BelgradeView
45 H 10/08 17:30 15:30JPN-KAZView PlockView
46 H 10/08 20:00 18:00POL-GERView PlockView
34 F 10/08 20:15 18:15USA-NEDView BelgradeView
39 G 10/08 17:00 21:00BRA-BULView MayaguezView
51 I 10/08 13:15 21:15TUR-CZEView Hong KongView
52 I 10/08 15:45 23:45CHN-ARGView Hong KongView
40 G 10/08 20:00 00:00DOM-PURView MayaguezView
59 J 11/08 17:00 11:00RUS-CUBView EkaterinburgView
60 J 11/08 19:30 13:30ITA-THAView EkaterinburgView
35 F 11/08 17:30 15:30NED-ALGView BelgradeView
47 H 11/08 17:30 15:30KAZ-GERView PlockView
41 G 11/08 14:00 18:00BUL-DOMView MayaguezView
48 H 11/08 20:00 18:00POL-JPNView PlockView
36 F 11/08 20:15 18:15SRB-USAView BelgradeView
42 G 11/08 17:00 21:00PUR-BRAView MayaguezView
53 I 11/08 13:15 21:15ARG-CZEView Hong KongView
54 I 11/08 15:45 23:45CHN-TURView Hong KongView

RkCodeTeamPointsMatchesResults DetailsSetsPoints
1JPNJapan933 21    919.0002481751.417
2CHNChina933 21    919.0002461911.288
3ITAItaly933 21    919.0002522031.241
4SRBSerbia933 21    919.0002502021.238
5BRABrazil833  21   942.2503022671.131
6TURTurkey63212   1 732.3332432131.141
7USAUSA632111  1 741.7502532311.095
8BULBulgaria632111   1641.5002301981.162
9DOMDominican Republic632111   1641.5002232191.018
10ARGArgentina4321  2  1670.8572572750.935
11GERGermany4312 1 11 670.8572932791.050
12NEDNetherlands33121   2 560.8332412351.026
13RUSRussia3312  111 680.7503013220.935
14CZECzech Republic33121   11460.6672272280.996
15THAThailand33121    2360.5002011851.086
16POLPoland13 3   111390.3332542900.876
17KAZKazakhstan13 3   111390.3332342790.839
18PURPuerto Rico 3 3    12190.1111972480.794
19CUBCuba 3 3     3 9 1322250.587
20ALGAlgeria 3 3     3 9 1062250.471

Top Scoring Performances
41 – Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata of Poland v Russia (August 4) World Grand Prix record
32 – Zhu Ting of China v Netherlands (August 4)
31 – Tatyana Mudritskaya of Kazakhstan v Argentina (August 4)
28 – Bethania De La Cruz of Dominican Republic v Czech Republic (August 4)25 – Nataliya Goncharova of Russia v Brazil (August 3)
24 – Lucia Fresco of Argentina v Kazakhstan (August 4)

22 – Brankica Mihajlovic of Serbia v Czech Republic (August 3)

22 – Fernanda Rodrigues of Brazil v Russia (August 3)

22 – Brankica Mihajlovic of Serbia v Dominican Republic (August 2)

21 – Carolina Costagrande of Italy v Germany (August 4)

21 – Maren Brinker of Germany v Argentina (August 3)

21 – Tatiana Kosheleva of Russia v Brazil (August 3)

Top Blocking Performances
9 – Milena Rasic of Serbia v Puerto Rico (August 4)
7 – Cristina Barreto of Brazil v Poland (August 2)
6 – Christiane Furst of Germany v Italy (August 4)

6 – Tatiana Kosheleva of Russia v Brazil

6 – Milena Rasic of Serbia v Czech Republic (August 3)

6 – Annerys Vargas of Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico (August 3)

Top Blocking Performances by Team
18 – Poland v Russia (August 4)

17 – Italy v Germany (August 4)
17 – Brazil v Poland (August 2)

17 – Kazakhstan v Germany (August 2)

16 – Russia v Poland (August 4)

16 – Serbia v Puerto Rico (August 4)

16 – Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico (August 3)

16 – Brazil v Russia (August 3)

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
12 – Argentina v Kazakhstan (August 4)

11 – China v Cuba (August 3)
10 – Germany v Argentina (August 3)

10 – Serbia v Czech Republic (August 3)

Highest Scorer by Round
Week 1: Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata of Poland, 41 v Russia (August 4) World Grand Prix record

Highest Set Score
Week 1: Poland v Russia, 30-28 (August 4)

             Japan v Turkey, 30-28 (August 4)

Highest Scoring Matches
Week 1: Russia v Poland, 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 29-27, 28-30, 15-13) – 235 points

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