China maintained their perfect start to the FIVB World Grand Prix, beating Germany 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-22) to register their eighth successive win to start the 2016 tournament.
Liu Xiaotong scored a game-high 18 points for the victors, with Germany’s ever-reliable Louisa Lippmann adding to her team-best 100 points for the tournament by scoring a German-high 13 points against China in Hong Kong on Saturday.
Germany were looking for just their second win against China from their now 20 meetings in the World Grand Prix and a couple of errors from China gave them an early lead. Lippmann was misfiring a little and China overcame the early deficit to be ahead 20-11, before going on to win the first set 25-13.
In front of more than 8000 spectators, China didn’t repeat their errors from the first set and took a 3-0 lead in the second. Germany came back into things but Liu’s super service helped China take a 14-8 buffer. Further good hitting from Liu allowed China to keep control of the set and take it 25-16.
Liu’s service remained strong and an ace gave China a 9-6 lead in the third set. Lippmann was doing her best, but without any other German player scoring in double-figures, China were too good and won the set 25-22 and the match 3-0. It is the sixth time in China’s eight-match unbeaten stretch to open the tournament they have won in straight sets.
Hui Ruoqi, China, captain: “We are happy to win and our defence was pretty good. Germany is a tough team with strong spirit. We learned a lot from them, particularly their defence in the second and third set. It will be a bigger challenge against USA tomorrow.”
Lang Ping, China, coach: “We had a different starting line-up in today’s match. The defence was good, despite several ups and downs during the match. We hope our players will have a more consistent performance in tomorrow’s match.”
Felix Koslowski, Germany, coach: “Congratulations to China. They played pretty well today. They had a different line up but still keep their good quality. They also have two left-handed players which we were not so familiar with. We defended and served better in the third set, but China found the key to succeed. We have a lot to learn from China and they are one of the best teams in the world.”
Denise Hanke, Germany, captain: “China played really well today. We had problems finding our rhythm because of the quality of the China team. We always try hard but we are disappointed by our performance.”