Nanjing, China, July 2, 2019 – 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League Women’s Finals hosts and reigning Olympic champions China begin their campaign in Nanjing against last year’s runners-up Turkey on Wednesday. China ended the Preliminary Round at the top of the ranking with 12 wins from 15 matches, despite being automatically qualified for the Finals as the tournament hosts. Last year’s finalists, Turkey, meanwhile, claimed 11 wins to take fifth place.
The Preliminary Round match between China and Turkey in Jiangmen in week 4 produced a 3-0 victory for the pool hosts with Gong Xiangyu and Li Yingying leading the scoring with 14 points and 13 points respectively. Meliha Ismailoglu and Ebrar Karakurt both scored 15 points for Turkey.
China – Turkey (July 3, 2019)
· China and Turkey will clash for the 11th time in world level major competitions. China won seven of the previous 10 meetings (W7-L3).
· China have won six of their last seven matches against Turkey at world level, with the only exception a 3-1 defeat in last year’s VNL preliminary round. Turkey’s Hande Baladin won 27 points, at least nine more than any other player on the field.
· Earlier this VNL campaign, China claimed a 3-0 preliminary round win over Turkey in Jiangmen on 12 June. Meliha Ismailoglu (15), Ebrar Karakurt (15) and Gong Xiangyu (14) led the scoring.
· Reigning Olympic champions China finished in third place in the inaugural edition of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in 2018. They beat Brazil in straight sets in the third-place decider (25-18, 25-22, 25-22).
· China won 12 matches in this year’s VNL preliminary round (W12-L3), the joint-most along with United States (W12-L3). China entered the 2018 final round after winning just seven of their 15 preliminary round fixtures (W7-L8). They finished in ninth place but qualified for the final six as hosts of the final phase.
· Last year, China started the VNL final round with a 3-1 victory over Netherlands. Lang Ping’s side came from behind to beat the Dutch 3-1 at the Olympic Sports Centre in Nanjing on 27 June 2018.
· China have won 12 of their last 13 VNL matches, with the only exception in that run a straight-set defeat against USA on 13 June.
· Only United States (18) have won more VNL matches in straight sets than China (16).
· Zhu Ting (119) and Yuan Xinyue (119) finished the 2019 VNL preliminary round as China’s top points scorers.
· With 106 spikes from 208 attempts (50.96%), Zhu Ting was among the best attackers in the 2019 VNL preliminary round.
· Zhu Ting was China’s top scorer in each of their four final round fixtures in the 2018 VNL, combining for a total of 87 points.
· No player scored more points in the 2018 VNL final round than Zhu Ting (87). USA’s Michelle Bartsch-Hackley followed on 78 points.
· Turkey lost the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League final 3-2 against United States, despite taking the lead twice (25-17, 22-15, 28-16, 15-25, 7-15).
· Turkey’s second-place finish in the 2018 VNL was their second podium spot at a world level major competition, after a third place at the 2012 World Grand Prix.
· Turkey won 11 of their 15 preliminary round matches in this year’s VNL. They finished the 2018 preliminary round with the exact same record (W11-L4).
· Turkey opened last year’s final round with a five-set defeat against United States. Giovanni Guidetti’s team took a 2-0 lead in sets only to witness USA fight back to 3-2 at the Olympic Sports Centre in Nanjing on 27 June 2018.
· Turkey have played a total of 10 five-setters in the VNL, the joint-most along with Italy.
· With 217 points, Ebrar Karakurt finished in seventh place in the 2019 VNL preliminary round top scorers list. Last year, only Meryem Boz (250) and Eda Erdem Dündar (238) won more than 217 points for Turkey in the VNL (incl. final round).
· Karakurt (0.37) and Zehra Gunes (0.37) were among the best servers in the 2019 VNL preliminary round.
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