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China to play Japan, Kazakhstan to face Korea in AVC Cup for Women semis

A triple block by No. 10 Kim Yeonkoung, No. 4 Kim Heejin and No. 12 Han Songyi of Korea against an attack from Chinese Taipei
 Shenzhen, China, September 11, 2014 – In-form China put on a near-flawless performance in brushing off Thailand in three sets on Wednesday to set up a semifinal clash against Japan in the 4th AVC Cup for Women at Shenzhen Universiade Center Indoor Stadium. Japan strolled past Vietnam 3-1 in the other quarterfinal match. Kazakhstan remained unbeaten after defeating Iran 3-1 and will challenge title contender Korea in the semifinals. 

China 3-0 Thailand 
Without their top players absent from the AVC Cup, defending champions Thailand surrendered to hosts China 0-3 (18-25, 19-25, 22-25) in the quarterfinals. China moved to an 8-5 lead at the first technical timeout with efficient attacks from No. 3 Yin Na and No. 8 Zhang Changning. Thailand did not do well in first passing and gave China several opportunities to counterattack. Following a 4-0 run by China, the score difference was increased to 7 at 12-5. Thailand tried to tighten their block and it worked for a while as they chased to 11-15. But again, a successful block by No. 11 Liu Yanhan and a spike-out by Thailand helped China widen the gap to 17-11. Thailand had no more chances and lost the first set 18-25. Successive blocks by China early in the second set too them to a 6-3 lead. With outstanding play by Liu Yanhan, Ding Xia and Qiao Ting, China were 16-9 ahead at the second technical timeout. Thailand’s strong defence took them to 14-18 but a 4-0 run by helped China stay ahead. China replaced libero Wang Qian with Huang Liuyan and chief spiker Liu Yanhan with Li Jing in the third set. The new roster maintained China’s fine combinations and attacking. They were 16-9 ahead at the second TTO. After reaching 21-15, China slacked off a little while Thailand drew to within a point at 21-22. But China held on for the win.
Korea 3-0 Chinese Taipei 
Korea registered a straight-sets win (25-16, 25-18, 27-25) over Chinese Taipei in the first quarterfinal of the day and booked the first ticket to the semifinals. Korea were not pushed hard in the first two sets but Chinese Taipei fought back in the third and had two setpoints at 24-22 behind. At this crucial moment, the Koreans withstood the pressure and went on a 5-1 run to finish off the match. Korea’s captain, No. 10 Kim YeonKoung ranked the best scorer of the match with 20 points in total while the captain of Chinese Taipei, Chen Wan-Ting, contributed 12 for her team. 

Vietnam 1-3 Japan 
Vietnam started the match well with an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout using their efficient blocking and counterattacking. In response, Japan tightened their blocking against their opponents’ left forward and chased to 10-12. Vietnam’s engine suddenly stopped then as Japan engineered a 6-0 run to the second technical timeout and eventually took the set by four points. Japan were still slow at the beginning of the second set as Vietnam established an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. Good blocking saw them lead 18-12 and Japan couldn’t fight back. Japan got rid of their slow motion in the third set and established a 5-1 lead. After the first technical timeout at 8-3, Japan controlled the set. The fourth set was similar as Japan led all the way. Vietnam lost their confidence in front of Japan’s tight defence and lost the set by 12 points. Japan’s Saori Takahashi scored the most with 18 points. Vietnam edged Japan in spiking as they scored 46 compared to Japan’s 44. But Japan gained 14 points from serving while Vietnam only managed one. 

Iran 1-3 Kazakhstan 
Kazakhstan recovered after dropping the first set to win 3-1 (20-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-15) and remained unbeaten. Iran stunned the Kazakhs with their destructive serves in the beginning while Kazakhstan could not solve their problems in first passing. Following the second technical timeout at 16-14 in favour of Iran, Kazakhstan repeated their mistakes in attacking and finally lost the first set 20-25. Warming to their task, Kazakhstan found their rhythm in combination between first passing, setting and attacking. On the other side, Iran found it harder to penetrate the blocks of Kazakhstan. The match gradually fell into Kazakhstan’s lap as they wrapped up the next three sets without too many problems. Kazakhstan scored 17 points from blocking and seven from serving compared to nine and zero, respectively, for Iran. The best scorer was Iran’s Borhani Esfahani with 18 points. Kazakhstan had three players contributing over 10 points: Matveyeva Inna with 17 points, Anarbayeva Lyudmila with 13 and Mudritskaya Tatya with 10. 

Quarterfinal results 
Korea - Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 27-25) 
Vietnam-Japan 1-3 (21-25, 25-20, 14-25, 13-25) 
Iran-Kazakhstan 1-3 (25-20, 16-25, 18-25, 15-25) 
China - Thailand 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-22)  


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