Three teams confirm place in World Grand Prix Finals
China maintained their undefeated 2013 FIVB Grand Prix record when they beat Poland 3-1 (25-18, 25-21, 16-25 and 25-23). China is the only team still undefeated, with a perfect record of 23 points. On Sunday, they will face their biggest battle, against Finals contender Serbia, who has 22 points. If China wins, they will enter the World Grand Prix Finals undefeated, with their best World Grand Prix start ever.
Serbia, however, should give China a tough battle on Sunday, as the Chinese women are winless against their opponents in two matches at the World Grand Prix. On Saturday, Serbia swept Argentina with a 3-0 victory. Serbia finished in 11th place in the 2012 World Grand Prix, with their best-ever campaign dating back to 2011 when they won the bronze medal.
The USA, Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria and Russia will all battle for the remaining three spots in the finals. Along with a definite win, teams will also need some luck to make the cut. Russia will need to win Sunday 3-0 and hope USA or Brazil lose by the same margin.
On Saturday, USA cruised past Japan 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18) and improved their record to seven wins and one loss, while Japan dropped their second straight match after going undefeated in its first six. The win brings the USA to third place in the World Grand Prix rankings.
Japan is automatically qualified for the finals, as the host country. The team is currently in eight place in the rankings, tied with Russia for 17 points.
Brazil staged a straight-set victory against the Netherlands, 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-15) on Saturday. Brazil, who placed second in the 2012 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, now inch closer to making this year’s Finals with 20 points and one loss. Brazil competes against World No. 30 Kazakhstan on Sunday, in the final match of the last day of preliminary rounds.
In Saturday’s big thriller, World No. 4 Italy lost to World No. 10 Dominican Republic in a 228-point tiebreak match, 3-2 (21-25, 19-25, 32-30, 26-24, 25-11). The loss brings Italy down to No. 5 in the World Grand Prix rankings. While the Finals is out of reach for the Dominican Republic, the team recorded their most victories in one single World Grand Prix edition, with five wins. They recorded four wins in 2008. Italy plays World No. 7 Turkey on Sunday.
In their second meeting in World Grand Prix this year, Turkey swept debutants Algeria in three sets (25-12, 25-12, 25-12). The win puts Turkey, who finished third in last year’s World Grand Prix tournament, in sixth place with 18 points – tied with Bulgaria. Turkey will need to win their match on Sunday against Italy to secure a place in the Finals.
In a match-up of two FIVB World Cup debutants, Bulgaria overcame the Czech Republic 3-2 (20-25, 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 15-8) on Saturday. Bulgaria could become the second nation ever at the World Grand Prix with a top-6 classification in their debut season (inaugural season 1993 not taken into account). In 2001, Serbia finished third. Turkey, seventh in 2008, were the only other side to finish among the seven best teams as debutants.
Russia registered six victories in a row in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix after pulling off a straight set victory 3-0 (25-8 25-16 25-19) against Puerto Rico on Saturday. Russia currently stands in ninth place in the World Grand Prix rankings and will need to secure a 3-0 win on Sunday against No. 13 Thailand to keep its hopes alive for the Finals. USA or Brazil will need to lose by 3-0 to open a spot in the Finals for Russia.
Germany, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Thailand, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Poland, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Algeria will all end their 2013 World Grand Prix campaigns on Sunday.
Cuba, Puerto Rico have recorded their worst-ever World Grand Prix runs without any wins. Algeria, who made their World Grand Prix debut this year, has yet to win even one set. Only once has a country ended a World Grand Prix edition without winning a single set: Chinese Taipei in 2007 (9 straight defeats).
The final day of the 2012 World Grand Prix preliminary round resumes with Japan and the Czech Republic battling at 3:30GMT. The games between Russia and Thailand, and Sunday’s last match of Brazil and Kazakhstan will be aired live on FIVB Web TV.
LIVE SCOREBOX | WEEK 3
Top Scoring Performances
41 – Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata of Poland v Russia (August 4)
32 – Zhu Ting of China v Netherlands (August 4)
31 – Tatyana Mudritskaya of Kazakhstan v Argentina (August 4)
29 – Valentina Diouf of Italy v Dominican Republic (August 17)
28 – Prisilla Rivera Brens of Dominican Republic v Italy (August 17)
28 - Seda Tokatlioglu of Turkey v Dominican Republic (August 16)
28 – Yukiko Ebata of Japan v Kazakhstan (August 10)
28 – Bethania De La Cruz of Dominican Republic v Czech Republic (August 4)
27 - Bethania De La Cruz of Dominican Republic v Turkey (August 16)
27 – Miyu Nagaoka of Japan v Germany (August 9)
26 - Dobriana Rabadzhieva of Bulgaria v Dominican Republic (August 11)
25 - Aneta Havlickova of Czech Republic v Argentina (August 11)
25 - Emiliya Nikolova of Bulgaria v Dominican Republic (August 11)
25 - Kelly Murphy of USA v Serbia (August 11)
25 – Bethania De La Cruz of Dominican Republic v Brazil (August 9)
25 – Gabriela Guimaraes of Brazil v Dominican Republic (August 9)
25 – Nataliya Goncharova of Russia v Brazil (August 3)
Top Blocking Performances
9 – Milena Rasic of Serbia v Puerto Rico (August 4)
8 - Robin De Kruijf of Netherlands v Algeria (August 11)
8 – Annerys Vargas of Dominican Republic v Puerto Rico (August 10)
7 – Cristina Barreto of Brazil v Poland (August 2)
7 – Strashimira Filipova of Bulgaria v Puerto Rico (August 9)
7 – Christa Harmotto of USA v Japan (August 17)
Top Blocking Performances by Team
24 - Russia v Germany (August 16)
20 - USA v Japan (August 17)
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 - Serbia v Poland (August 16)
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)
16 – Dominican Republic v Italy (August 17)
Top Serving Performances
7 - Saori Kimura of Japan v Poland (August 11)
6 - Neslihan Darnel of Turkey v China (August 11)
5 – Denise Hanke of Germany v Kazakhstan (August 2)
5 – Sana Jarlagassova of Kazakhstan v Germany (August 2)
Top Serving Performances by Team
13 - Turkey v China (August 11)
12 - Turkey v Argentina (August 9)
12 – Argentina v Kazakhstan (August 4)
11 – Germany v Poland (August 10)
11 – Serbia v Algeria (August 10)
11 – China v Cuba (August 3)
10 - Netherlands v Algeria (August 11)
10 - Germany v Kazakhstan (August 11)
10 - Japan v Poland (August 11)
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)
Week 2: Yukiko Ebata of Japan, 28 v Kazakhstan (August 10)
Week 3: Seda Tokatlioglu of Turkey, 28 v Dominican Republic (August 16)
Highest Set Score
Week 1: Poland v Russia, 30-28 (August 4)
Japan v Turkey, 30-28 (August 4)
Week 2: Argentina v Turkey, 36-34 (August 9)
Week 3: Japan v Bulgaria, 29-31 (August 16)
Italy v Dominican Republic, 30-32 (August 17)
Highest Scoring Matches
Week 1: Russia v Poland, 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 29-27, 28-30, 15-13) – 235 points
Week 2: Bulgaria v Dominican Republic, 2-3 (22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 30-28, 14-16) - 226 points
Week 3: Turkey v Dominican Republic, 3-2 (25-27, 22-25, 25-22, 26-24, 15-13) - 224 points
Week 3: Dominican Republic v Italy 3-2 (25-21, 25-19, 32-30, 26-24, 15-11) – 228 points
2013 World Grand Prix Tournament page