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Volleyball: New-look China cruise past Czech Republic in Hong Kong

 

A new-look China squad beat Czech Republic 3-0 for their fourth straight win on this year’s FIVB World Grand Prix. Photos: FIVB.

A new-look China squad beat Czech Republic 3-0 for their fourth straight win on this year’s FIVB World Grand Prix. Photos: FIVB.

 

August 10, 2013: China’s winning record in this year’s FIVB World Grand Prix continued as they beat the Czech Republic 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-13) on Friday in their first Pool I game in Hong Kong.

 

Turkey, third overall in last year’s World Grand Prix, won the first pool match on Friday evening, beating Argentina 3-1 (25-17, 25-14, 34-36, 25-18) at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

 

Japan extended their winning run with a 3-2 win over Germany in Poland.

Japan extended their winning run with a 3-2 win over Germany in Poland.

In Poland, Japan extended their winning run in the World Grand Prix, but had to come back from two games down to beat Germany 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-12) in Pool H in Plock. Miyu Nagaoka was Japan’s top scorer with 27 points. Poland beat Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-11).

 

In Russia, Thailand beat Cuba 3-1 (25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 25-19) in Pool J in Ekaterinburg, while the host nation beat Italy 3-1 (25-13, 18-25, 25-18, 26-24).

 

 

Zeng Chunlei, one of several experienced players recalled to the China squad, was the top scorer for Jenny Lang Ping’s team with 17 points. Captain Hui Ruoqi, Yin Na and Shan Danna were also among the recruits brought in to bolster the squad that topped Pool D in Macau last week.

 

Star player Wang Yimei, fellow Olympian Shang Lei and 18-year-old Zhu Ting, top scorer as China won all three of their games in Macau last week, are in the squad but were rested against the Czech Republic, who are making their debut on the World Grand Prix.

 

China started the first set well and took a comfortable lead toward the first technical time out at 8-2. With China establishing a large lead with aggressive hitting – especially from Zeng and captain Hui Ruoqi – the Czech Republic called for a time out at 20-11 before the crowd favourites sealed the first set 25-14.

 

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Yin Na and Shan Danna have been recalled to the China squad.

The second set started more evenly, as the Czech side improved their defence and blocks to tie the match at 6-6. After China won four straight points, Czech Republic called for a time out at 10-6, going on to draw level at 10-10, but China again moved ahead and won 25-17.

 

China carried the momentum into the third and final set, with Czech Republic calling for the first timeout at 5-1. Later on, China won six consecutive points to move to 19-8 before rounding off the match with a 25-13 win in the final game.

 

“It was our first game against the Czech Republic so we didn’t have a clear understanding of our opponent. Having said that, we travelled from Macau to Hong Kong, while the Czech team travelled a longer distance and have to cope with the time difference. That may explain why we could get into the game quickly,” Lang said.

 

“Although our team have won 10 matches in a row, we haven’t been thinking about victory in our next matches. We want to take every opportunity to develop our ability to adapt and our coordination on court. We still have areas to work on and we hope to strive for continual improvement.”

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