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2022 AVC Cup for Women

AVC Cup: Wang Yifan fires 25 vs Iran, lifts China to Pool A sweep


China shooked off a first-set setback to ultimately subdue Iran, 24-26, 25-19, 25-10, 25-13, to wrap up a sweep of Pool A in the 2022 PNVF AVC Cup for Women, Thursday evening at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

The win clinched China the top spot in the group with a 4-0 win-loss record towards the quarterfinals, while Iran slipped to 1-3 and will await the result of the Philippines-South Korea match for its fate.

The reigning champions used the momentum they built in that third-set pull away to slowly build a huge fourth-set lead with the captain and outside hitter Wang Yifan taking advantage of how the setter Xu Xiaoting opened the front line to its offensive options. Eventually, Chinese head coach Kuang Qi emptied his bench, and these players delivered to close it out in the fourth.

Wang dropped a game-high 25 points on 23 attacks and two service aces, while Wang Wenhan added 12 spikes and one ace for a total of 13 points.

Iran and China figured in a tussle in the opening set as the latter coughed up several miscues, mostly from the service line. The West Asians took advantage of this and eventually snagged the extended opening set at 26-24.

Chinese tactician Kuang decided to change his personnel in the second set and the gamble paid off with skipper Wang and setter Xu providing the game-changing plays in this set and the following. Xu started to vary her offensive options and activated her middles Wang and Hu Mingyuan, leaving some space for her wing spikers to operate as she opened up Iran’s block.

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Zhang Yushan provided some energy on defense and also chipped in 12 markers, all coming from attacks, while Xu also had three markers, including two service aces in the close-out fourth set.

Elahe Poor Saleh Shahdehsari was badly missed in that third-set beatdown for Iran and finished with 13 points to pace her squad. Aytak Salamatgharamaleki added eight markers, all coming from attacks.

China will take on Australia in the quarterfinals at 11 a.m. on Saturday, still at the same Pasig venue. On the other hand, Iran’s fate rests in the hands of the Philippines and South Korea, who will battle in the match in pool play this evening.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.


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