• The Associated Press


The United States beat Japan in four sets Thursday at the men’s volleyball World Cup, which serves as a qualifier for the 2004 Olympics.

Brook Billings and Gabriel Gardner led the U.S. team to its 19-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-19 victory at Hiroshima Green Arena.

The Americans improved to 3-1 and handed Japan its first loss.

In other matches, reigning Olympic champion Serbia and Montenegro improved to 4-0 by defeating Canada 25-14, 23-25, 25-20, 26-24. Also, Brazil (4-0) beat Italy in four sets, China topped Egypt in three sets, South Korea defeated France, and Venezuela downed Tunisia.

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