Japan guarantee top three finish; Brazil keep title chase on track
The host team excellently displayed seamless defence in their last three matches, forcing their opponents to work doubly hard on their attacks, which led to three convincing victories over former World Grand Prix winners Russia and China, and 2012 third placers Turkey.
Defending champions Brazil have since recovered from their Finals opening match against Turkey, by beating China and Belgium in straight sets. Brazil come at close second to Japan, keeping their hopes alive of back-to-back title wins.
Likewise, Russia are also a tough contender for the title with victories over Belgium in straight sets and Russia in a five-set duel. Meanwhile, Turkey and China have won only one match after an impressive showing on their respective opening matches. In last place is Belgium, who have not yet recorded any victory in the Finals.
• Turkey have lost two matches in this year’s Finals; they also suffered two losses in their previous stint in the Finals in 2012.
• Turkey have been involved in two five-set matches in the Final Round – the first was a victory over Brazil, the second match was a defeat against Russia.
• China can lose three World Grand Prix matches in a row for the first time since losing four in 2012.
• China can suffer three straight-set defeats for the first time in World Grand Prix history.
• Turkey and China have met in the Final Round in 2012; Turkey won 3-2.
• This will be their first encounter outside of China as their previous encounter took place in Ningbo.
• Tatiana Kosheleva leads all players in the Final Round in scoring.
• Brazil have won 11 of their last 12 Final Round matches; their last eight Final Round matches were won in straight sets
• Thaisa Menezes has scored nine service aces, most of all players in the Final Round.
• Brazil have won the last four meetings with Russia and can set an outright record of five consecutive wins.
• Brazil won in straight sets against Russia in the Intercontinental Round; they have never won two consecutive matches against Russia in straight sets.
• Japan can win gold if they take three points from their match against Belgium and Brazil lose against Russia.
• Belgium have only won one set in the World Grand Prix Finals so far.
• Belgium can become the first team to lose at least three Final Round matches in straight sets since Cuba lost five in 2012.
• Japan and Belgium will meet for the first time in the World Grand Prix.
• Belgium have lost only one match against an Asian opponent in the World Grand Prix – 3-1 against China on Wednesday.
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