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Formidable China struggles to beat Slovakia in hard-fought five sets

Slovakian Simona Kosova tries to set the ball for a spike.
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, July 12, 2009 – Defending and three-time world champions China struggled hard to beat spirited Slovakia in a hotly-contested five-set battle 25-23 21-25 26-24 19-25 15-13 to finish 13th place in the championship.
 Slovakia played without pressure in the 13th-14th play-off against Asian powerhouse China. With Michaela Abrhamova and Nikola Radosova attacking devastatingly at the post, Slovakia led initially 7-2. China recovered from the nervous beginning to hit back bravely and catch the tough rivals at18-18. The Chinese stormed on with devastating spikes by Wang Yang and Wang Wei to take the hard-fought set 25-23.
 Slovakia still gained the upper hand in the second set to lead 13-8. As China came up with the erratic play, particularly on their receiving, Slovakia went on their superb form to clinch the set 25-21.
 Leveling 1-1, China tried to come back with an improved form in the third set. Wang Wei produced several drops to the mid court, while Wang Yang punctured the Slovakian defence with her exceptional spikes to help China capture the pole position 21-19. Slovakia worked hard to come back. Their determined attempts almost worked well only that China played consistently to bag the close set 26-24.
 Both sides started the fourth set with the similar level. However, Slovakia played cool under pressure, while the Chinese game was riddled with unforced with spiking and blocking errors. Slovakia clinched the set 25-19.
 In the do-or-die tie-breaker, Slovakia still fought hard, while the Chinese relied mostly on their impeccable defence and thundering mid-court spikes. At 13-13, China moved ahead 14-13 before winning the set 15-13 and the close battle.

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