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Brazil defeat Japan 3-0 for second win in World Grand Prix Finals
Brazil won their second match of the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals on Thursday, beating Japan 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-17) at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center.
Brazil improved to 2-0 while Japan fell to 1-1.
Brazil had 15 blocking points to Japan’s seven, but Japan dominated serving 7-1.
Gabriela Guimaraes was Brazil’s top scorer with 19 points while Yukiko Ebata led Japan with 11.
Japan got off to a slow start and fell behind 4-1 on a block by Guimaraes and a spike by the same player. Risa Shinnabe then breathed life into the Japanese attack with a strong kill and a service ace while captain Saori Kimura also delivered two valuable points with a kill and a perfectly placed soft shot. A block by Nana Iwasaka on young Brazilian star Guimaraes put Japan a point ahead at the first technical timeout and they moved three points ahead at 14-11, when Brazil coach Ze Roberto called a timeout. Japan maintained its advantage to the second TTO but the scores were level at 20 when Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe called his first timeout. Neither side was dominating but Brazil looked the stronger team, especially after they brought in Sheilla Castro. But it was the big-hitting Guimaraes who did the damage with successive smashes that put Brazil two points up at 23-21. A missed shot by Ebata gave Brazil setpoint and a Fernanda Rodrigues kill put Brazil 1-0 up.
Two clever shots and a block by Riho Otake gave Japan the advantage at the start of the second set and a fake set by setter Haruka Miyashita put Japan five points in front at 10-5. When a Miyashita service ace stretched the lead to 12-6, Brazil called a timeout. Brazil won eight of the next 10 points and drew level at 14-14 after another blow from Guimaraes, prompting a Japanese timeout. At 16-16, an excellent block by Miyashita on Guimaraes and a hefty spike from Yukiko Ebata prompted a Brazil timeout but the teams were level again at 18. Two Japan errors at 21-21 handed the advantage to Brazil and Thaisa Menezes earned setpoint with a big hit down the middle. A mixup on the Japan side of the net put Brazil 2-0 up.
The introduction of Miyu Nagaoka boosted Japan’s attack in the third set and they recovered from 1-5 – with Guimaraes again at the forefront of Brazil’s attack – to level at 7-7. Nagaoka smashed two strong drives through the Brazil defence and blocked Sheilla. Iwasaka came up with a huge block on Rodrigues and Miyashita followed with two service aces to put Japan 10-9 ahead. But Japan had few answers for the attacking power of Guimaraes and Rodrigues and Brazil were leading by three at the second TTO. They stretched that to five points at 20-15 when Thaisa made a huge block on Nagaoka and there was no way back for Japan after that. Successive blocks by Thaisa and Rodrigues brought setpoint at 24-17 and Thaisa sent a shot down the middle to finish the match.