China defeat Netherlands to secure Finals berth


China team cheered for their first victory in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, China, June 24, 2016 – China saw off Netherlands in straight sets (25-22, 25-23, 25-21) on Friday afternoon securing a top five finish in the Preliminary Round to join hosts Thailand in the Group 1 Finals.

China's Changning Zhang scored team-high 13 points and contributed to a convincingly win which guarantees them a top five finish in the Preliminary Round, meaning they are the first team to join hosts Thailand in the Group 1 Finals. China are still unbeaten in their seven World Grand Prix 2016 matches.

Netherlands' best scorer was Lonneke Slöetjes with 16 points to extend her scoring tally do 128 points in Group 1.

The opening set started with an even play only until 7-7 as Netherlands were able to find another gear pulling away into 13-8 lead. With fierce attacks and solid defense at the net, China battled back and was able to tie the score at 14-14, taking a close lead at 16-15 at the second technical timeout. China then scored sequentially to break free from the slim advantage while Netherlands were chasing and levelled up at 20-20. China went on to win the set at 25-22.

With outstanding blocks on the net and powerful counter attacks China team managed to take the lead since the first point of the second set, taking a five-point lead along the way, and widening to 16-8. Netherlands showed their attack power and narrowed the gap to 17-15, but China team came up again immediately. Both teams traded points towards the end of the set, which was finally closed by China at 25-23.

The Dutch managed to take an early lead at the third set, Celeste Plak’s powerful spikes helped her team to reach the first technical timeout at 8-4. China caught up gradually with her fast attacks and strong defense. China’s "great wall" on the net posed difficulties for their opponents to penetrate the court. However the Netherlands were able to bring back the score at 18-18. But it was China team who won the third set at 25-21 sealing the straight victory 3-0.

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