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World Grand Prix 2005 - Match Descriptive

Match Descriptive

Cuba beat Japan 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 20-25, 28-26, 17-15) - duration 2:20
17-Jul, start time: 18:00, end time: 20:20 - Attendance: 8'600
City: Sendai; Hall : Sendai City Gymnasium
Cubans fight back to tame Japan
Sendai, Japan, July 17, 2005 -- Cuba came back from 2-1 down to beat Japan 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 20-25, 28-26, 17-15) in the third match on the fourth day of the World Grand Prix Final Round on Sunday.
The Athens Olympics bronze medallists saved a match point at 13-14 in the last set before winning a thriller with a brave spike from Liana Mesa.
It was a marvellous match for the capacity crowd of 8,600, going one way and then the other throughout the two-hour, one-minute contest.
With the win, Cuba improved to 2-2, while Japan slipped to 1-3 after four days.
Athens Olympian Ai Otomo took the fight to Cuba by pounding out some crisp early winners.
But Cuba's heavy artillery were quick to reply, notably Rosir Calderon on the left, and Zoila Barros and Nancy Carrillo down the middle.
Japan were making fewer mistakes, however, and when Cuban captain Yumilka Ruiz served long, it gave Japan four set points.
They won it on their second attempt, 25-21.
With Calderon carving up Japan's right-flank defence, Cuba reached the first technical time-out of the second set 8-6 ahead, but having to work hard for every point.
By the second break, though, Cuba had some breathing space at 16-11 and closed out the set 25-20 to level the match 1-1.
In the third set, Cuba led 8-7 before Japan went on a six-point spree to power ahead 13-8.
Miyuki Takahashi, as ever, was full of energy and points, and Sachiko Sugiyama pounced on anything loose at the net.
With the Cubans looking tired, Japan seized the third set 25-20.
In the fourth set, Cuba could not build up any attacking rhythm against Japan's defence, and the home team led 16-13 at the second technical break.
But Cuba hung in there against an inspired Japan team, and an ace to the base line on their fourth set point from Mesa did the trick 28-26.
In the decider, Cuba held their nerve, winning on their second match point.