RIMINI, Italy, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Reigning Olympic champion China rallied to defeat South Korea 3-1 while Turkey overcame Serbia in a five-set thriller Tuesday here in the first round of the 2021 Women's Volleyball Nations League.
China's captain Zhang Changning had a game-high 23 points in her team's 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-18) victory over South Korea. Her teammates Liu Yanhan and Li Yao added 15 and 14 points respectively.
For South Korea, Lee Soyoung contributed her team's best 16 points, while veteran Kim Yeon Koung grabbed 14.
The Olympic champion was shocked by their South Korean opponents at the beginning of the first set. Although they bounced back after the second timeout, they eventually failed to save the set point.
Both sides exchanged leading spike for spike in the tough opening of the second set. But the game changed near the end of the set when Zhang Changning found her momentum to lead the pace.
The next two sets became a showcase of Zhang, Liu and Li's outstanding spiking abilities. The South Koreans put up a fight but ultimately could not hold off China's charge.
The opening day's most entertaining game came from Turkey and Serbia. Serbia, whose lineup is almost full of rookies, dragged experienced Turkey into a tie break.
Despite losing the game, the young Serbians even saved the first game point before Turkey sealed victory with 3-2 (25-21, 18-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-14).
Sara Caric of Serbia contributed the game's high of 22 points and her captain Katarina Lazovic added 17 points. Turkey's Meryem Boz scored her team's high of 17 points.
Tuesdays games also saw the Netherlands smash Belgium 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-18), Russia beat Germany 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-19), Japan ease past Thailand 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-16), United States defeat Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-12), Poland overcome host Italy 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 20-25, 25-22, 17-15), and Brazil top Canada 3-1 (23-25, 25-11, 25-9, 25-14). Enditem