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Thailand cut Yunnan's chances of qualifying for VTV Cup semifinal

Vietnam's Bui Thi Nga attacks DPR Korea
Bac Ninh, Vietnam, May 20, 2014 - In-form Thailand produced a magnificent come-from-behind 3-1 (17-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-16) victory over winless Yunnan of China, as hosts Vietnam stunned DPR Korea in straight sets in the single round-robin preliminaries of the VTV International Women's Volleyball Cup at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium on Tuesday.

On the fourth day of the annual invitational competition, Thailand, the only team which had not yet lost a set to their respective rivals in the previous three matches, fielded a young national team with a promising future, which included Thatdao Nuekjang, Ajcharaporn Kongyot, Jarasporn Bundasak, Kannika Thipachot and Jutarat Montripila, while the Chinese side were spearheaded by hard-hitting Liu Mengya, Pu Rou and Lei Yanxi.
The Thai team fielded second-string players in the opening set and they started nervously, allowing Yunnan attacking opportunities. Thailand attempted to regroup, but their determined efforts were in vain as they became prone to hasty unforced mistakes. The Chinese team took the first set 25-17.

After losing the opening set, Thailand fielded their best players including Thatdao, Ajcharaporn and Jutarat to strengthen the team in the second set. Their determination bore fruit when Thailand clinched the set 25-17 for a 1-1 equaliser.

Thailand continued to play aggressively in the next two sets, with Ajcharaporn and Kannika hitting spectacular cross-court spikes and Thatdao and Jarasporn producing scintillating blocks. The Thai team captured the third and the fourth sets 25-21 and 25-16 to win the match.

Ajcharaporn Kongyot scored a match-high 24 points including 20 decisive hits for Thailand, while Pu Rou scored 14 points for China's Yunnan.

With their victory over Yunnan, Thailand remain at the top of the standings with 12 points from four straight wins, while the Chinese team are yet to win a match.

Yunnan are fifth in the overall standings, resulting in a sure bet that the Chinese team will miss the cut for the semifinals. Instead, Yunnan and underdogs Australia will battle it out in the 5th-6th playoff. The Chinese team will take on the Aussies in their last preliminary match on Wednesday, however, before setting up a rematch in the playoff.

Meanwhile, DPR Korea's unbeaten record was ended on Tuesday at the hands of Vietnam. The host side performed impressively to overpower the formidable Koreans in straight sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 27-25).

Veteran Do Thi Minh scored 18 points for Vietnam, while Ju Un Hyang collected 10 points for DPR Korea.

Despite losing, DPR Korea hold on to second place after collecting nine points from four matches. Vietnam also have nine points, but with a lower points ratio.

The day's other match saw Kazakhstan overcome a serious threat from Australia to beat their rivals in a five-set thriller 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-11).

Kazakhstan are now fourth, while Australia are in sixth position.
Tuesday's results
Single round-robin preliminaries
Thailand beat China's Yunnan 3-1 (17-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-16)
Vietnam beat DPR Korea 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 27-25)
Kazakhstan beat Australia 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-11)
Wednesday's match schedule
13.00 - Thailand v DPR Korea
15.30 - Vietnam v Kazakhstan
18.00 - China's Yunnan v Australia


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