A packed Nagoya Rainbow Hall for Japan's clash with Brazil
Nagoya, Japan (November 18): Brazil and the United States face a "High Noon Shootout" on Saturday after both teams improved their win-loss record to 3-0 at the World Grand Champions Cup on Friday.
The Americans downed European champions Poland 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-20, 25-19) to stay perfect, and Brazil followed up with a crushing 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-19, 25-15) over Japan in the evening's main course.
Brazil and USA, neither of whom have won this title in the three previous editions, will meet in the fourth round of games on Saturday, starting at noon.
The winner of this will then be the favourite to clinch the US$300,000 first prize on Sunday, the fifth and final day of the women's inter-continental championship.
Tayyiba Haneef led the USA scoring against Poland with 21 points, including 20 searing spikes -- and promised there was more to come.
"Overall we are very happy with our condition, and have a pretty healthy team," she said.
"We are mentally strong and came here to fight, and will continue to have a lot of energy and spirit out on the court."
It was clear from the Americans' performance that Thursday's travel/training day had not stalled the momentum built up in Tokyo with straight-sets wins over Korea and China.
"I think it was good for us to have one day off. We had more time to watch videos and prepare for Poland," added Haneef.
"Usually a travel day slows you down, but we had a lot of energy."
In the first game of the day, China overwhelmed Asian rival Korea 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-19) in 64 minutes.
Chu Jinling was the architect of the impressive victory, spearheading China's charge with 22 points.
Liaoning's lethal weapon had 18 kills, three block points and one service ace in her 22-point haul, and was well supported by the all-round play of Zhou Suhong, who added 12.
"In our two earlier games, against Brazil and USA, we did not show our real power, but in Nagoya we have not repeated those mistakes," said Zhou.
"The starting members all did well, and so did the players who came in, so were able to maintain a consistent level of performance."
After a bright start, Japan faded against Brazil and lost in straight sets.
Even Japan's fast-paced game could not live with Brazil's relentless precision, especially from the dynamic duo of Sheilla Castro and Welissa "Sassa" Gonzaga.
Brazil's head coach, Jose Guimaraes, said it was the best his team had played, as he never expected a 3-0 victory.