Serbia, China take first step towards World Championship semifinals


Spectacular Tijana Boskovic on the attack, as Serbia defeat Japan in Nagoya to come within grasping distance of a semifinal berth at the 2018 FIVB World Championship.

Lausanne, Switzerland, October 14, 2018 - Serbia have placed one foot through the door of the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship semifinals and China have also remained on track for the medals round, after the opening day of Round 3 of the competition in Nagoya.

Serbia had to fight back with some remarkable plays from 19-22 down in the third set to seal the deal against Japan with a clean three-set sweep, as Tijana Boskovic hauled in an impressive 24 points (for an average of eight per set).

And with Zhu Ting showing the way, Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists China came back from a set down to edge defending world champions USA in five thrilling sets.

Zhu Ting spikes past the triple block of Jordan Larson, Rachael Adams and Kelly Murphy for one of her 25 points that led China to victory over USA in Nagoya, Sunday.

Match Centres:
China - USA 3-2
Japan - Serbia 0-3

Other Sunday highlights:
• Zhu Ting for China with 25 points and Kim Hill for USA with 24 led the scoring in the opening match of Round 3 at the World Championship. Neither have broken the 30-point mark yet in this competition.
• Tijana Boskovic's attacking efficiency was once again above the 50% mark, with 21 kills from 41 swings. She continues to lead the overall best attackers in the tournament with a 55.49% efficiency (101/182).
• Italy's Paola Egonu continues to lead the top scorers' list overall in this World Championship with a total of 182 points. Of players still in the competition, Lonneke Sloetjes of the Netherlands (currently at 174) and Zhu Ting (at 172, but with one extra match played) could still catch up with Egonu.

Jovana Stevanovic in action as Serbia power past hosts Japan to close in on a semifinal ticket at the 2018 FIVB World Championship.

But could we be heading for a China v Serbia rematch of the Rio 2016 final?

USA are now with their back against the wall and find themselves in a must-win situation when they face the Netherlands on Monday. Any defeat would see them knocked out of the competition - but the defending champions can still secure their semifinal spot with any win for full points on the back of the point they picked up in ther five-set defeat to China.

China can also go through on Monday, even if not playing, if the Netherlands beat USA with any score. It will then be down to the Ducth and Chinese deciding the second team to advance from Pool H when they go head-to-head on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Serbia rest on Monday, but could qualify without playing, if Italy and Japan pick up at least one set each when they go head-to-head tomorrow, or if Italy win by any score.

Italy can advance with any win, which means the hosts would be knocked out of the semifinals, resigned for a 5th-place playoff. In this case Serbia would automatically join Italy in the top four and it would be down to the two deciding first place in Pool G when they meet on Tuesday.

Match Centres for Monday 15 October:
Netherlands v USA, Pool H in Nagoya at 16:10 local time (07:10 GMT)
Italy v Japan, Pool G in Nagoya at 19:20 local time (10:20 GMT)

Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship Japan 2018
Results and ranking
Volleyball TV


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