A comeback win against Thailand in Brasilia was one of three for Serbia on week two of the Women's Volleyball Nations League ©Volleyball World

Back-to-back world champions Serbia recovered from a difficult Women's Volleyball Nations League (VNL) opener with three wins in the second week, but still have significant work to do to reach the Finals having been left outside the top eight.

Serbia lost all four of their matches in Nagoya in the first week, but three wins from four at the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brazil's capital Brasilia kept their hopes of reaching the Finals in United States city Arlington alive.

They twice came from behind to win 16-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-20, 15-10 against Japan, but were on the end of a five-set defeat 23-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-12, 15-11 by Brazil, runners-up at the last Olympic Games, World Championship and VNL.

Giovanni Guidetti's team's third match against Thailand also went the distance, and they had to come from two sets behind to win 24-26, 22-25, 25-17, 25-12, 16-14.

They rounded off their week with a 25-16, 25-11, 23-25, 25-17 victory over Croatia which leaves them in ninth with three wins and five defeats.

Poland top the Women's Volleyball Nations League standings with seven wins and one defeat ©Volleyball World
Poland top the Women's Volleyball Nations League standings with seven wins and one defeat ©Volleyball World

Defending VNL champions Italy occupy eighth place with five wins and three defeats.

They had also endured a difficult week with just one win in Antalya, but recovered with four victories at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

A routine 25-17, 25-19, 25-23 win against Bulgaria started their week, and the Italians followed it with a five-set 25-16, 16-25, 21-25, 25-22, 15-10 victory against the Dominican Republic.

Another closely-fought contest with The Netherlands ended 22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 19-17 in the Italians' favour, before substitution outside hitter Alice Degradi starred in a 23-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22, 15-12 comeback win against China.

Poland lead the way at the top of the rankings, despite surprisingly suffering their first defeat of the VNL in straight sets 25-22, 25-21, 28-26 in Hong Kong to a Dutch team for whom it was a first win of this year's edition.

Olympic champions America are second, although were also beaten for the first time 23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 15-6 by Japan in Brasilia.

Turkey in third are one of four nations on six wins and two defeats.

Although they lost to Poland, they beat The Netherlands and Canada in straight sets in Brasilia and won 25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 25-20 against the Dominican Republic in their last match.

China are fourth, despite a mixed week which included wins against Canada and Bulgaria as well as their defeats to Poland and Italy, with Brazil in fifth overcoming South Korea, Serbia and Germany before succumbing 25-22, 25-19, 25-22 to the US in a repeat of the Tokyo 2020 final.

Germany in sixth are the other team with six wins, three of which came in Brasilia against Thailand, Japan and South Korea, and Japan complete the top eight with five victories and three defeats in seventh.

Croatia are 14th, but earned two wins in Brasilia including their first ever at the WNL 25-23, 25-21, 25-14 against South Korea.

Finals hosts the United States are assured of a place in the next phase of the competition, with the next seven best ranked sides joining them.

Teams each have four more fixtures to play in two pools in Suwon in South Korea and Thailand's capital Bangkok from June 27 to July 2.

The second week of the Men's VNL is due to start tomorrow in Orléans in France and Rotterdam in The Netherlands.