São Carlos, Brazil, August 6 – Japan began its campaign in the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix with a shock 3-1 (30-28, 27-29, 25-20, 25-13) victory over last year's FIVB World Grand Champions Cup winners Italy in São Carlos, Brazil.
Japanese wing spiker Saori Kimura, in an inspirational performance, topped the scores with 28 points while wing spiker Francesca Piccinini scored 19 for the Italians.
Japan began well before Italy drew even at 21-21. However, Japan carried their momentum through to close a tight set out 30-28.
The game remained close at the beginning of the second set as Italy took a narrow lead. Japan fought back to take the lead but Italy regained control to take the set.
Italian wing spiker Francesca Piccinini was the star of the third set with seven points although despite her efforts, Japan's strong defense saw them take the lead once again.
Italy took the lead in the fourth early on and looked to gain momentum. However a combination of great blocking and Italian mistakes saw Japan claw their way back into the match and eventually secure the win.
Tomorrow Japan play Brasil and Italy face Chinese Taipei.