China still seeking right mix for London
China are still searching for the best combination with which to launch their Olympic assault, despite winning all three of their pool matches in the World Grand Prix event in Macau at the weekend.
The mainland women finished with a 100 per cent record yesterday when coming back strongly to defeat Thailand in four sets (18-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-19) in the final day's play at Macau Forum.
Both had won their two previous matches, against Puerto Rico and Argentina, and the result not only put China on top of pool A but also gave them sweet revenge after losing to the Thais in last year's Grand Prix finals, also in Macau.
But coach Yu Juemin is still not certain who is the best replacement for injured top spiker Wang Yimei at the London Games.
While Hui Ruoqi, who top-scored for China with 16 points yesterday, is the most likely to take on the attacking role, Yu also tried a number of options in Macau, including Chu Jinlin, Zeng Chunlei and Fan Linlin.
Fan looked quite impressive yesterday. She scored 10 points against Thailand, with eight coming from attack, and Yu paid tribute to the player's strong mental attitude. 'She is even more outstanding during training,' said the coach.
After losing the first set, the mainlanders were quick to recover with support from the home crowd. They jumped to a commanding 18-9 lead in the next set, in large part due to their blocking. Ma Yunwen then took matters into her own hands and closed out the set with a block, followed by two service aces.
The fourth set was hard-fought with neither team able to take control early on. Ultimately, the Chinese sealed victory with their overpowering play at the net.