China's Suhong Zhou dives for the ball
BEIJING, 17 August - China have a spot in the quarterfinals after they thumped Japan 3-0 (26-24, 25-16, 25-14) in their Pool A match at the Capital Gymnasium on Sunday.
China started messily. Setter FENG Kun made early passing errors and failed to add an element of surprise to her passes.
The Japanese block trio - Sachiko SUGIYAMA, Miyuki TAKAHASHI and Saori KIMURA, were ready at the net every time, and FENG was soon replaced by WEI Qiuyue.
China finally organised their players efficiently as wing-spiker WANG Yimei took to her post at the net and put away eight out of 15 left-court attacks, triggering a renewed rhythm and a service ace from MA Yunwen that levelled the score at 15-15.
Megumi KURIHARA put on a good show with some quick reception and fast back-court attacks, and Japan looked to take a second lead. China were faster on their feet, however, and won the set 26-24.
Japan cranked up their defence in the second set with setter Yoshie TAKESHITA popping up balls for TAKAHASHI to drive to the back of China's court. But China were equally persistent and took an unassailable lead of 20-10 via a strong service from prolific wing-spiker ZHOU Suhong. China won the second set 25-16.
Spikes that were missing in the first two sets started slamming in the third as ZHOU continued to shine at the baseline. A strong attack from ZHAO Ruirui gave China an easy match point, and the game was soon sealed at a score of 25-14.
Japan will enter the quarterfinals sitting on fourth place in Pool A.