Thailand upset host China in women's volleyball Grand Prix finals

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Thailand staged an inspiring comeback to outgun hosts China in five sets on Friday in women's volleyball World Grand Prix finals.

It took the Thais two hours and six minutes to claim their first victory of the tournament 21-25, 25-22, 34-32, 21-25 and 15-13 despite the overwhelming cheers of home fans for the Chinese.

Thailand started strongly against the host, racing to a 7-3 lead in the opening set, but China steadily pulled it back before Xu Yunli's speedy shot tied the game at 8-8.

China then ran off six of the next seven points in a row to move to a 16-11 ahead as Hui Ruoqi and Xu combined to score four of them. After the second TTO, China extended the gap to six points and a pair of spikes from Xu pushed China go forward to 22-17.

An out-of-court serve of Onuma Sittirak gave China the first set point and Yang Junjing's high spike sealed the victory for China at 25-21.

It was an even match in the second set, China built up an early two-point cushion, but Thailand soon recovered and tied the game six times until China led into the second TTO 16-13 thanks to a spiking error from Amporn Hyapha.

However, it is China's turn to commit mistakes as Thailand launched a 4-0 run to lead the game for the first time at 17-16, forcing China's coach Yu Juemin to call the first timeout.

The Thais kept the two-point advantage to 23-21. Sittirak and Hyapha then combined to stop Hui's spike to get the set point and another spiking error from Hui awarded Thailand the second set.

Inspired by the second-set win, Thailand made an early effort to go ahead 6-2 in the third set and led 8-5 into the first TTO.

On basis of the height on the net, China slowly narrowed the gap until Chu Jinling's ace serve tied the game at 12-12.

Tied at 22-all, the game turned white-hot as both teams could not turn the set points into final win until Tapaphaipun Chaisri's block moved Thailand to their sixth set point and Malika Kanthong refused Hui's spike for Thailand to claim the third set at 34-32.

The fourth set was a similar situation. China started well, jumping to 7-4 lead, while Thailand immediately answered with three straight points to tie it at 7-all. Then it was hotly contested until China used a 4-1 run to build another 12-9 lead.

With Chu Jinling continuously firing on the net, China steadily pulled within 20-14 when Ma Yunwen tore open the defense of Thailand to seal the victory of the set at 25-21.

In the tiebreaker, Thailand went three to nil up as their solid defense proved too much for the host team. Yu called a timeout, but Thailand rallied to 8-1 lead to force Yu to call the other timeout in less than five minutes.

After the game resumed, China launched a 5-0 run and reduced the gap to only one point at 8-9, but that is the gap that China could never make up for. Leading at 14-13, Onuma Sittirak provided a powerful kill from right side of the net to give Thailand the winner.



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