Five things to look forward to on Day 6 of the Montreux Masters 2019

We’ve finally reached the final day of Montreux Masters 2019! Poland and Japan will compete for the title. Meanwhile, last year’s champions Italy are looking to salvage the bronze against Thailand. Let’s not forget the intriguing match-up between China and Turkey for fifth place as well. Here’s what to expect in Day 6 of this competition.

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1) China versus Turkey will be a slugfest

Turkey might still be fuming with anger for they missed the semifinals despite defeating Thailand. They had the same standing and set ratio with the Thais and the Italians in Pool B. Unfortunately, their point ratio is inferior to the other two. That being said, expect them to vent out their frustration against the defending Olympic champions.

The Turks will go all out on this match to finish fifth. Cansu Ozbay’s setting will be a big factor in Meryem Boz and Meliha Ismailoglu’s performance in this game. Coach Giovanni Guidetti’s unit will also welcome point production from Hande Baladin and Eda Erdem Dundar.

Meanwhile, the Chinese also suffered the same fate as the Turks in Pool A. They were eliminated from medal contention after Poland defeated Germany in four sets. That gave the Poles six match points compared to China’s five. It’s a disappointing development considering that An Jiajie’s team defeated the Poles for their second win in three matches.

Expect the Chinese to showcase their ammunition for a respectable finish in a tournament wherein they were favored to win. Li Yingying will pace the Chinese barrage while Hanyu Yang and Fang Duan provide support. They are also banking on Yang and Mingyuan Hu to maintain China’s great wall at the net.

2) Thailand raring to bounce back

The Thais lost when the didn’t have to. After defeating Italy and Switzerland in their first two matches, they were demoted to the second semifinal slot in Pool B when they lost to Turkey. Unfortunately, they went up against a Polish squad that dominated them at the net during their semifinal encounter. Worst, they only scored nine points in the second set of a three-set demise.

They are looking to end the Montreux Masters 2019 on a winning note by defeating the Italians once again. But for that to happen, they must address Italy’s 19-4 demolition in stuff blocks during their first encounter. Coach Danai Sriwatcharamaytakul’s squad should keep the pressure from the service line and play at a fast tempo. Nootsara Tomkom must also maintain good ball distribution to let at least four players score double-digits.

3) Italy looking for revenge

If Thailand is looking to end their losing streak, Italy is seeking for payback against the team that defeated them. They would have to contend with Thailand’s floor defense by exploiting the gaps especially the corners and the sidelines. Otherwise, the likes of Onuma Sittirak and Piyanut Pannoy will just have a field day on digs.

Davide Mazzanti’s unit should also establish their dominance at the net. Their odds of winning will increase if Alessia Orro can execute high shoots to the wing spikers so that they can attack above the Thai blockers. Italy should also control the game by implementing a more deliberate pace that Thailand isn’t comfortable with.

4) Japan will play with speed

That’s what propelled them to victory against the Italians. Their European counterparts couldn’t deal with their agility which gave them 48 attack points in three sets. Floor defense was no contest as the Japanese broke Italy’s spirits with a 67-32 demolition in digs.

Much like the Italians, the Poles are looking to capitalize on their power and superiority at the net. But Japan is hitting its stride with a style that they have somewhat abandoned during last year’s FIVB Women’s World Championship. Quick is their calling card and fast play will be their key to winning gold.

5) Poland hopes to establish dominance at the net

Jacek Nawrocki’s team has the psychological advantage coming into the gold medal match because they’ve defeated Japan in pool play. In that game, the Poles had a whopping 18-7 advantage in stuff blocks coupled with a 5-1 edge in service aces. Miwako Osanai, Yuka Imamura, and Yuki Ishii all had decent games for Japan. However, they couldn’t find a counter for Malwina Smarzek and Agnieszka Kakowleska who scored 20 points apiece.

Smarzek, the tournament’s leading scorer, will play a huge role from the wing. Likewise, Kakowleska will be their director at the net. If these two will bring their A-game against Japan, Poland’s chances to winning the title increases. It will be speed versus power for the Montreux Masters 2019 gold medal.

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