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China faced a critical match against the US -- both teams were vying for one of the coveted top three spots in the tournament that would qualify them for next year’s Olympics in London.
The US took an early lead in the first set, but China showed some gritty determination and kept things close. But the Americans were more potent at the net and were able to take the first frame 25-21. In the second set China improved their play and had a 16-13 lead thanks to some good net play. But the US side was able to make a charge and forge ahead at 23-22.
Neither side was willing to give-up this set. The teams exchanged the lead until the US was able to claim a 31-29 win and grab a 2 set lead. With their backs against the wall, the Chinese team was able to focus and found some renewed determination as they took an 18-13 lead in the third frame. Some sloppy play from the US also handed China the set 25-18, and only trailed the match 2-sets to 1.
China continued their strong run of play in the fourth set and held an 18-13 lead. But then Zhang Lei was forced to the sidelines with cramping -- the second time in the match, she would be fine and finish the match. China was also fine and eventually won the set 25-19, leveling things at 2-all. The match was sent to a decisive fifth set.
And despite the gritty comeback, China could not outduel their opponents. The US was able to come away with a 3-2 win. Despite the loss, China remains in third place, crucial for qualifying for the Olympics.