Japan beats Czechs to finish round


London Olympic bronze medalist Japan closed out the preliminary round of the volleyball World Grand Prix with a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Led by Risa Shinnabe’s 28 points, Japan won 25-18, 22-25, 28-26, 23-25, 15-13 in Pool M ahead of the finals starting Aug. 28 in Sapporo.

Japan, which also got 25 points from Yukiko Ebata, improved to 19 points in fifth place with its seventh victory.

“We were fully aware the three matches here we’re going to be difficult,” Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe said. “I’m glad we were able to win.”

The host nation, first-place China and Serbia have so far qualified for the six-team finals, the first to be held in Japan since 2009.