China’s hopes of claiming a fourth International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Women’s World Cup title were given a huge boost after they earned a four set victory over Russia in Nagoya, Japan, to move to the top of the standings.
Ahead of the much-anticipated clash between the two leading nations in the tournament, Russia had secured eight wins and tasted defeat on only one occasion, but they quickly found themselves in a battle with a Chinese team in their penultimate round robin match.
China were able to edge the first set 25-23 and made the most of the momentum by winning the second set 25-15, to move closer to replacing Russia as the leaders of the tournament.
Aided by the impressive Tatiana Kosheleva, Russia were able to find a way back into the tie by winning the third set 25-23 but they were unable to complete an unlikely turnaround as China were able to regain control of the match to earn the fourth set 25-20.
By securing the victory China know that a win over the hosts Japan in the final match of the tournament will see them secure their first World Cup title since 2003.
Should China fall to defeat Serbia could claim their maiden Women’s World Cup triumph after they remained in contention by beating Kenya comfortably in their penultimate match of the tournament.
Tijana Boskovic and Brankica Mihajlovic started the match in impressive style for the Europeans to help their team secure the set 25-11 and there was no way back for Kenya as the Serbian team quickly won the second 25-14, before wrapping up the straight sets victory by winning a much more competitive third set 25-19.
Serbia will expect to beat eighth placed Argentina in their final match of the tournament which would secure them at least a second place finish in Nagoya.
They currently lie ahead of the United States who earned a 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-10 victory over Japan to move level with Russia in third position in the standings, which keeps their hopes of a top two finish and Rio 2016 qualification alive heading into the final day.
In the battle for the minor places at the World Cup the Dominican Republic overcame Algeria in straight sets 25-11, 25-12, 25-7, while Cuba came from a set down to beat Peru 13-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-19.
Additionally South Korea sealed an impressive 25-21, 25-17, 25-20 win over Argentina to move above them into seventh in the table.
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