Lausanne, 12th August 2007 –
Tokyo was hosting the challenge among Japan, The Netherlands, Chinese Taipei and Brazil. Guimaraes’ team was able to win all three matches for 3-0, showing a perfect confidence with its game, even if “We still have to improve” was the “leitmotif” during all their press conference. Chinese Taipei lost all three games. The Netherlands marked only two aces, but their service was really effective for the entire match against Japan, a 3-2 victory for the Orange team in the 10,000 packed Ariake Colosseum.
In Khabarovsk, first Russian city ever to host a World Grand Prix round, the home team had no pity: three victories in this Pool E. After the first 3-0 to Kazhkastan, the team coached by Gianni Caprara won 2 tie breaks with U.S.A. and Cuba, pushed by a cheering 7,200 audience. Cuba lost this match despite a fantastic Nancy Carrillo (16 attacks, 6 blocks and 4 aces), but was also weaker than U.S.A. in the debut match (3-1). “The progress of our team is evident” said U.S.A. Head Coach Lang Ping “especially in serving and combination game.”
Pool F in Hong Kong saw a different Poland: the shy team which lost all three matches in its home debut - one week before - was substituted by a gritty squad. Marco Bonita, former Head Coach of Italy, started form Friday beating his old team 3-1. A 3-2 against China and an easy victory with Dominican Republic lighted up again the way to Ningbo for the Polish team. China lost the two key matches, since Italy managed to win the last tie break 15-12 with a huge help by the strong arms of Aguero and Ortolani.
The third weekend (17th - 19th August) will be played in Osaka, Japan (Pool G: Japan, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia), in Taipei, Chinese Taipei (Pool H: Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Dominican Republic, Italy) and in Macau (Pool I: China, Cuba, Netherlands, U.S.A.).
Then the best 5 teams in the overall standings and China will qualify for the final week (22nd – 26th August), a round robin in Ningbo, China.
photos Janos Schmidt