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2006 edition
China, Brazil and Cuba take the early lead after the first weekend

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 26, 2005 – Last year’s World Grand Prix champions and the Olympic gold and bronze medalists have all claimed the early advantage with three wins from as many matches following the completion of a stunning opening weekend of World Grand Prix Preliminary Round action on Sunday.

Olympic champions China top the 12-team competition on set ratio difference ahead of Brazil and Cuba after collecting a 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-18) win over Thailand, a 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-5) victory over the Netherlands and a straight sets win (25-22, 25-15, 25-15) over a new look world number three, USA in Ningbo. The Netherlands are in sixth spot with two victories, 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-17) over USA and 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-14) over Thailand while USA sit in eighth position after beating winless Thailand (12th spot) 3-0 (25-13, 25-12, 25-22).
Pic: China lead Brazil and Cuba only on set ratio
Meanwhile, World Grand Prix defending champions Brazil were in devastating form in Tokyo beating Korea 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) and Poland 3-0 (25-22, 25-10, 25-23) before coming back from two sets down to beat Japan 3-2 (17-25, 17-25, 25-17, 25-21, 20-18) in a thrilling battle between the two unbeaten sides. Japan had earlier beaten Poland 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-17) and Korea 3-0 (26-24, 25-14, 25-18). Out of the two winless sides, Poland cemented themselves in ninth position after beating Korea, who are in 10th spot, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-18) on Sunday.

The final group’s action saw Cuba show who was boss with a devastating triple in Reggio Calabria to sit in third spot. The key result was Sunday’s 3-0 (27-25, 25-20, 30-28) win over Italy, leaving the homeside in fifth spot with two wins and a defeat. Cuba had earlier beaten the Dominican Republic 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 25-18) and Germany 3-0 (29-27, 27-25, 27-25) while last year’s silver medalists Italy looked in good early form beating the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-10) and Germany 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-23) but couldn’t quite match the efficient Cubans in the decider.

All 12 teams now move to three new locations for Week Two of the Preliminary Round for three more matches each.

Current standings after three matches: 1) China 2) Brazil 3) Cuba 4) Japan 5) Italy 6) Netherlands 7) Germany 8) USA 9) Poland 10) Korea 11) Dominican Republic
12) Thailand