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Zhu keeps China on top as team battles back to defeat Serbia

 
Macau, China, June 18, 2016 – China battles back to defeat Serbia 3-2 (27-25, 17-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-9) on the second day of World Grand Prix. Both opposites Ting Zhu and Jovana Brakocevic ruled at the net to bring their teams second victory in Macau. 

Teams competed to take on leader's position in Macau after winning their matches against Belgium and Brazil the day before. China ties rivalry with Serbia in World Grand Prix as both teams now have three victories against each other in the competition's history. None of their encounters have even ended in straight sets.

Ting Zhu led China with 15 kills and Ni Yan contributed 4 blocks. Jovana Brakocevic led Serbia with 20 kills. Serbia takes on Belgium tomorrow in the early match while China plays Brazil to close out Group D play.



Serbia started with a much different lineup from yesterday’s match, leaving Brankica Mihajlovic, Maja Ognjenovic and Tijana Boscovic on the bench. Serbia played well without these three and only trailed 8-7 at the first technical time out. While China did pull ahead by four points, it was Serbia who fought back to take its first lead at 18-17. The Serbians continued to play well ultimately leading 23-21. This prompted China to bring in setter X. Ding. This sparked the Chinese to regain the lead and take the set 27-25.

Serbia pumped up its game in set two, taking an early 9-5 lead. Bianka Busa led the way as she completed kills from both the front and back row. The Chinese block couldn’t stop their opponents’ attack and Serbia had a 16-9 lead at the second technical time out. Three serving errors by China allowed Serbia to take a bigger lead and ultimately claim set two 25-17.

Early in set three neither team could manage more than a one point lead. Brakocevic carried the Serbian team, making six kills before the first technical time out. After that break it was the Serbians who pulled ahead by four, causing the Chinese to again bring in Ding as setter. The Chinese reduced the deficit to one point but it was the Serbians who scored six of the last eight points to capture set three.




Serbia started strong in set four taking an early 3-0 lead. The Chinese setter Ding used her tough float serve to bring China back into the set at 4-4. From that point forward the Serbians were the dominant team, racing ahead to an 11-5 lead. But it was the Chinese who battled back to tie the match at 14-14, electrifying the fans in the process. The Serbians appeared to lose focus from that point forward as the Chinese pulled ahead 20-16. Serbia clawed its way back to take the lead 22-21, but the Chinese reeled off the next four points to win a very entertaining set.

The Chinese were the more consistent team in set five, earning the early lead at 8-4. Two Serbian service errors allowed the Chinese to take a 10-6 lead and this provided the momentum necessary for the Chinese to take the set 15-9.

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