Sport Asia
Don't Miss

Volleyball: Brazil halt China’s run to win World Grand Prix Finals

 

Brazil celebrate winning their ninth FIVB World Grand Prix title after a 3-0 win over China gave them a perfect record in Sapporo. Photos: FIVB.

Brazil celebrate winning their ninth FIVB World Grand Prix title after a 3-0 win over China gave them a perfect record in Sapporo. Photos: FIVB.

September 1, 2013: Brazil clinched the gold medal in the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals for a record ninth time on Sunday after beating China 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-20) at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center in Sapporo, Japan.

 

China were the only other team in contention for the gold medal, having also won their four previous games in the Finals, and finished in second place. Zhu Ting, China’s top scorer, and middle blocker Xu Yunli did not play against Brazil, while captain Hui Ruoqi only appeared as a substitute in the first set.

 

Brazil, who have won their last three World Grand Prix titles in Japan, finished with a perfect 5-0 record for 15 points and didn’t drop a set in the Finals, the first time that has happened. China won four games and 10 points.

 

Serbia celebrate a 3-2 win against Italy and third place in the Finals.

Serbia celebrate a 3-2 win against Italy and third place in the Finals.

Serbia beat Italy 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16, 15-11) on Sunday to finish third on eight points with a 3-2 record. Hosts Japan were fourth with five points, one ahead of Italy, despite losing 3-2 (17-25, 25-19, 18-25, 25-17, 15-12) to bottom-placed USA. Japan, Italy and USA all won one game in Sapporo.

 

The Brazil-China contest was effectively the final and marked Brazil’s ninth straight win over China in the World Grand Prix. However, it was China’s first defeat in the World Grand Prix this year after a run of 13 straight wins – nine in the preliminary round and four in Sapporo.

 

Sheilla Castro, a two-time Olympic winner, led Brazil for a second successive game, with 18 points, while China’s top scorer was two-time Olympian Wang Yimei with 13. Brazil had a 10-8 advantage in blocking points and 6-0 in serves.

 

Sheilla Castro, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, was Brazil’s top scorer against China.

Sheilla Castro, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, was Brazil’s top scorer against China.

Jenny Lang Ping, who began her latest stint as China coach earlier this year, admitted it was one match too far for her team. In contrast to Brazil’s straight-sets encounters, China had two five-set victories in Sapporo, including Saturday night’s dramatic 3-2 win over hosts Japan.

 

“We tried our best. Last night, we finished very late and some players have injuries so we preferred to rest them. Also some of our players haven’t had so many opportunities to play, so we did what we could. I think our team did a good job,” Lang said.

 

“We learned so much and could see the talent of our young players. We know in the future who and what we want to work on. There are lots of areas we should improve.”

 

China started the first set poorly, with Lang calling a timeout as her team fell 6-1 behind, and didn’t really get much better as Brazil ran out 25-15 winners in the opener.

 

China were better at the start of the second set. Wang began with a cracking blast and lefty opposite Zeng Chunlei made a clever shot at the net, while Zeng also came up with a good block on Guimaraes as China kept pace. China were just 10-9 behind before Brazil turned the heat up to move to 19-11 and eventually win 25-14.

 

Zeng Chunlei spikes against fierce Brazil blocking.

Zeng Chunlei spikes against fierce Brazil blocking.

China also started the third set well. Yang Junjing blocked Gabriela Guimaraes, 19, and Wang did the same on Sheilla as China moved into an 8-6 lead. Brazil coach Ze Roberto called a timeout at 11-7 and his side were soon level at 12-12 before a rocket from Fernanda Garay put them 14-12 up.

 

Brazil soon led 20-16, but China closed to 20-19. A super block by Fernanda on Zeng set up championship point and middle blocker Thaisa Menezes concluded Brazil’s quest for gold with a solid hit down the middle.

 

“I’m happy for the victory,” said Brazil captain Fabiana Claudino. “The result was what all the players were hoping for and they all played very well. It seems that China weren’t as good as usual today.”

 

2013 World Grand Prix Dream Team

Best Outside Spiker: Zhu Ting (China)

2nd Best Outside Spiker: Brankica Mihajlovic (Serbia)

Best Midder Blocker: Thaisa Menezes (Brazil)

2nd Best Midder Blocker: Milena Rasic (Serbia)

Best Libero: Fabiana Oliveira (Brazil)

Best Setter: Alisha Glass (USA)

Best Opposite Spiker: Jovana Brakocevic (Serbia)

Most Valuable Player: Thaisa Menezes (Brazil)

 

2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Finals, Sapporo, Japan (local start times)

 

Wednesday, August 28: Serbia 1-3 China

Wednesday, August 28: Brazil 3-0 USA

Wednesday, August 28: Japan 3-0 Italy

 

Thursday, August 29: USA 1-3 Serbia

Thursday, August 29: Italy 2-3 China

Thursday, August 29: Japan 0-3 Brazil

 

Friday, August 30: China 3-0 USA

Friday, August 30: Brazil 3-0 Italy

Friday, August 30: Serbia 3-0 Japan

 

Saturday, August 31: Italy 3-2 USA

Saturday, August 31: Brazil 3-0 Serbia

Saturday, August 31: Japan 2-3 China

 

Sunday, September 1: Serbia 3-2 Italy

Sunday, September 1: China 0-3 Brazil

Sunday, September 1: USA 3-2 Japan

 

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply