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Japan cruises past Italy in World Grand Prix finals opener

Kyodo

Japan defeated Italy in straight sets on Wednesday in their opening match at the World Grand Prix finals.

Japan, which won the bronze medal last summer at the London Olympics, beat Italy 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center with Yukiko Ebata top-scoring with 16 and Saori Kimura netting 15.

“We were a bit on edge, with this being the first game. It’s a good thing we were able to win,” Kimura said. “But that being said, even though it was our first game, it seemed very quiet on the court. It seemed like we were all intent on finding a good rhythm.”

On Thursday, Japan will face Olympic champion Brazil, which dispatched the United States 25-19, 25-12, 25-10. China also opened its account with a victory, defeating Serbia 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20.