China edges host Japan 3-2 in FIVB world GP finals

Updated: 2013-09-01 15:00


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SAPPORO, Japan - China on Saturday edged host Japan 3-2 (25-16, 18-25, 26-24, 21-25, 15-13) in the FIVB women's volleyball World Grand Prix finals, ranking second in the tournament behind Brazil.

China was led by Zhu Ting with 33 points, while Japan's top scorer was Yukiko Ebata with 36 points.

Japan led the blocks with 10-9 and also edged the serve points with 8-7.

China staged an 8-3 lead at the beginning of the first set helped by spikes from young attacker Zhu and a nice block and a serving point. But Saori Kimura and Ebata came up with several kills and narrowed the point gap at 12-10.

The Japanese failed to continue their momentum which was smashed by Zhu's bombs, making it at 16-11 at the second technical timeout.

China kept bombing the Japanese and forced Japanese coach Masayoshi Manabe called a timeout at 20-14. Kimura and Nana Iwasaka helped Japan won two points but that did not stop China. Xu Yunli sent a heavy bomb to the Japanese side and a serve point made it at 25-16 in favor of China.

Risa Shinnabe came up big with three points and a heavy spike by Ebata gave Japan an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout in the second set. China chased after Japan to 12-11 but a serve long and a nice block by Ebata made it at 14-11 and Japan continued to grab two points made it at 16-11 at the second technical timeout.

Japan kept driving its momentum as Ebata's constant spikes earned Japan a 20-14 lead, which prompted China coach Lang Ping called a timeout. Hui Ruoqi's serve mistake helped Japan made it at 23-18 and Japan finished the second set with a serve point to make the game at 1-1.

Both sides played a tight game at 7-7 and Zhu' s heavy spike helped China gained one point at 8-7 at the first technical timeout. China made it at 13-9 due to a Japan's error and an unanswered spike, which forced Japan calling a timeout. China enlarged the gap at 17-10, prompted Japan calling another timeout.

But China can not continue to drive the trend and Ebata's constant spikes and Saori's bomb helped Japan caught up to 19-16. Ebata and Saori kept contributing Japan to win more points and evened the game at 22-22.

Two points by Saori and Ebata helped Japan won its first set-point, but Zhu's spike saved China and a spike long by Japan made they lost the third set.

The two teams again played tight at 5-5 at the beginning of the fourth set. Ebata and Saori helped Japan win two points but a serve error by Japan made it a 7-6. China kept gaining two points at 8-6 at the first technical timeout.

Ebata became Japan's hero as her constant spikes stopped China to enlarge its advantages and a serve point helped Japan level the game at 14-14, forcing Lang Ping called a timeout. China continued to win two points at the second technical timeout at 16-14.

Japan continued to catch up and Ebata again come up big with her bombs landed on the Chinese side and surpassed the point at 24-19. China gained two points but not save themselves and lost the set.

Japan staged a 3-0 run at the beginning of the fifth set, prompting China to call a timeout. China caught up three points and the two teams played again a tight game at 10-9. Two nice blocks by China changed the point at 12-9, forcing Japan called a time out.

Saori and Ebata made all Japanese audience crazy as they helped Japan to narrow the game at 13-11 with two spikes. But China did not give Japan more chances and using a nice block to finish the set at 15-13.

China will play Brazil on Sunday and Japan will fight against the United States in the last day of the tournament.