Outside hitter Zhang Jingyin scored a match-high 29 points to earn China a 3-2 victory over Bulgaria in the opener of the 2023 FIVB Men’s Nations League here on Tuesday.
World No. 25 China, the lowest-placed side in the 16-team league, beat the 23rd-ranked European side 25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-9.
With the win, China improved to 21st in the world rankings and made a giant step toward avoiding relegation.
“I’m glad that we won the opening match,” said Zhang, who played with Polish side Trefl Gdansk last season. “But we made some mistakes in the match and we need to improve our teamwork.”
China will next play Serbia on June 8, before meeting France on June 9 and Iran on June 10.
In Tuesday’s other actions, host Japan defeated Iran in straight sets 25-16, 25-22, 25-19. Japan’s captain Yuki Ishikawa was the top scorer of the match with 20 points and his teammate Ran Takahashi added 10.