Tokyo, Japan, August 22, 2009: China showed Japan who was boss of Asia with an exhilarating 3-0 victory on the fourth day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday night.
Displaying a speed, power and agility that Japan could not match, China romped to a 25-20, 25-23, 25-17 victory to record their first win of the week and improve their record to 1-3. Japan slipped to the same mark with one game to play.
China held a three-point advantage, 8-5, at the first TTO. When the lead grew to 10-6 on a Yin Na spike, Japan took a TO.
Yin was enjoying her best game of the week, constantly surprising Japan’s defence with her quick and clean hits. With China’s block blunting Japan’s hitters, China were in good shape at 16-12 at the second TTO. Down 18-13, Megumi Kurihara was removed from Japan’s rotation, leaving Maiko Sakashita and Saori Kimura to carry the attack.
Wang Yimei and Li Juan moved China closer to the first set, and Xue Ming controlled the centre as the Chinese closed it 25-20.
In the second set, Japan stepped up their block, with Erika Araki stopping Wang and Sakashita rejecting Li, and Araki spiked at the net to try and disturb China’s excellent centre players, Xue and Ma Yunwen. Li was still able to fire China into a slender lead, 8-7, at the first TTO.
A deep jump-serve ace by Kurihara sparked Japan’s second-set revival, sending China into a TO trailing 11-9. The pace remained high, as expected between these two Asian giants, and Japan clung to a one-point lead at the second TTO, 16-15.
Although Sakashita continued to produce some dazzling points, the Chinese had more variety in their armoury at the net and out wide, and Li was able to seal the second set on China’s first set point, 25-23, for 2-0. It was her 11th point of the game, while Sakashita led Japan with 14, including 12 spikes.
China crushed Japan in the early stages of the third set, leading 8-1 at the first TTO with Japan already having taken two timeouts to try and halt the barrage of blocks and power spikes. Wang and Li were at the centre of everything, and Yin served an ace as China went from 1-1 to 8-1 with a seven-point blitz.
Captain Araki tried to pull her team round, but China ruled the net through Ma and Xue and held a six-point lead at the second TTO, 16-10. When Araki blocked Wang to reduce the arrears to 18-14, China took a TO to catch their breath as they maintained a relentless pace and intensity.
A Xue block on Sakashita and Wang blockbuster jump-serve took China closer to victory, before Ma finished it 25-17.