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China's win streak snapped at world championship

China Daily | Updated: 2022-10-03 11:18
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ARNHEM, Netherlands — Team China suffered its first defeat at the Women's Volleyball World Championship on Saturday, losing to world No 2 Brazil 3-1 in its concluding Pool D game.

The South American team came from one set down to defeat the 2018 bronze medalist 23-25, 25-17,25-22, 25-22 for its fourth victory in five games at the tournament.

But China stayed on top of the group with a 4-1 win-loss record to total 12 points and a 13-3 sets tally. Brazil is second behind China with a 13-5 set ratio. Both teams now head to Rotterdam for the next phase, where they will fight for places in the quarterfinals.

Japan and Argentina have also secured their spots in the next stage.

"Despite the defeat today, the team has shown its desire for victory during the five games of the first phase. We had highlights in every game, but of course there were many aspects in which we could improve," said Team China head coach Cai Bin.

Starting libero Wang Mengjie sat out the game due to a fitness issue, but China raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set before captain Yuan Xinyue took charge with seven points and two blocks.

"We played well in the first set, especially in our first-phase attack, but our defense struggled to cope with the Brazilian's smash serve," Cai said.

Outside hitter Tainara Santos, who scored 22 points, served for a four-point run early in the second set. Veteran middle blocker Caroline Gattaz and star outside hitter Gabriela Guimaraes helped Brazil extend its lead with powerful spikes to take the second set 25-17 and tie the game.

The duo both hit double-digits with Guimaraes bagging 17 points and Gattaz hitting 15, including the decisive score in the fourth set.

In a hard-fought third set, the sides were tied 19-19 before Brazil won three points in a row to clinch the upper hand. Li Yingying's service error handed the set to Brazil, 25-22.

"We prepared really well for this match, and raised the intensity from the first set. But they adjusted very quickly in the next three sets," said Li, who had 22 points.

"We could do better in our serve reception, and we committed too many unforced errors in setting," the 22-year-old outside hitter added.

Serbia unbeaten

Defending champion Serbia finished the opening stage undefeated after a 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-13) triumph over the United States in Lodz, Poland on Saturday.

Daniele Santarelli's team moved into the next round with a perfect record of five wins and 14 points. The United States finished second in Pool C, two points adrift of the leader.

Blocking efficiency turned out to be crucial for Serbia, as it earned 13 points that way compared to just one effective block by the US.

"The plan is always to try to keep all the hitters involved and with our passing being so good today, I had great options to choose from pretty much the entire time. It was a tough match, but we were able to show our best game. I hope it continues this way and we can win a medal," said Serbian setter Bojana Drca.

In other Pool C matches played in Lodz on Saturday, Bulgaria crushed Kazakhstan 3-0, while Canada edged Germany 3-2. Canada and Germany placed third and fourth respectively to qualify for the next phase.

Poland suffered a second straight loss, going down 3-2 to Turkiye in Pool B. Magdalena Stysiak scored 31 for Poland, while Ebrar Karakurt was Turkiye's top scorer with 22 points. Both teams advanced to the next round along with Thailand and the Dominican Republic.

Xinhua

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