• Kyodo


Japan suffered a comprehensive 3-0 loss to Italy in its opening match in the final round of the women’s volleyball World Grand Prix on Wednesday.

Italy took just 63 minutes to breeze past a disappointing Japan team 25-12, 25-21, 25-14 while Cuba and Brazil also claimed opening-day victories. Valentina Fiorin led all scorers with 15 points — 12 spikes and three blocks — as Italy overpowered Japan in every department, much to the disappointment of a capacity crowd at Sendai Gymnasium.

Japan’s Chie Yoshizawa and Miyuki Takahashi, the host’s top scorer with 14 points, varied their attacks but were constantly frustrated by Italy’s effective blocking. Meanwhile, defending champion Brazil beat the Netherlands in straight sets while Cuba defeated China 3-2.

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