Japan spikers fall in opening match

Kyodo

Japan suffered a straight sets defeat to eight-time champion Brazil on Friday on the first day of action at the World Grand Prix.

Sheilla Castro scored a game-high 14 points as Brazil downed Japan 25-18, 25-16, 25-21.

The Brazilians went on the attack early in the first set against their Pool C opponents, with Castro and Paula Pequeno setting up smashes. Saori Kimura had a team-high 10 points for Japan.

The World Grand Prix is a warmup for the World Cup meet in November, which acts as a qualifier for the 2012 London Olympics.

A total of 16 teams play nine games each in the preliminary stage before the top seven teams and host China advance to the final round in Macau on Aug. 24.

Japan will take on rivals South Korea, who defeated Germany 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-20, on Saturday.