Bulgaria handed Japan its first defeat of the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix, edging the hosts 25-23, 25-23, 31-29 at Sendai City Gymnasium on Friday.

The match marked the first meeting between the nations in the World Grand Prix and the first time the Bulgarians had defeated Japan in any competition.

Japan fell to 6-1 and stayed on 17 points, while Bulgaria raised its record to 5-2 and 16 points and greatly improved its chances of reaching the finals in Sapporo. As the host, Japan qualifies automatically for the finals.