NINGBO, Zhejiang: China's come-from-behind victory over top Olympic foe Brazil at yesterday's FIVB Grand Prix in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, gives the reigning Olympic champion a much-needed boost less than 50 days before the Games begin.
China started slowly, falling behind 22-25, 26-24, 22-25 in the first three sets, but battled back with a suffocating defense to win the last two sets 25-22, 15-13.
"I am so glad that we still showed fighting spirit even when we were behind," head coach Chen Zhonghe said. "It's a big win for us. It's a boost for our confidence and is precious experience for those who have never competed at the Olympics.
"It is the last chance for us to play competitive matches before the Beijing Games, so this win was very important for us."
But Chen admitted there is still room for improvement if China wants to repeat its Athens gold-medal feat.
"We are still some distance away from achieving unity. We made unnecessary mistakes in the three matches. We are not at our best."
The tournament in Ningbo is the team's first domestic appearance since ace players Feng Kun and Zhao Ruirui returned.
The two made a remarkable comeback during the Swiss Volleyball Masters earlier this month and led China to second place, and continued their return to form this weekend.
"Feng's experience and skill are still the best on the team so I will continue to put her in the starting lineup.
"Zhao Ruirui and teenager Xue Ming also demonstrated our advantage over the net and we did well overall in defense and blocking."
Source: China Daily/Agencies