Japan won in straight sets for the second successive night on Sunday, beating Kazakhstan to lead the women’s Olympic final qualifying for Rio de Janeiro.
Ahead of Tuesday’s showdown with South Korea, Japan produced a 25-14, 25-15, 25-11 victory without facing much of a test from Kazakhstan, the lowest-ranked team at the tournament.
Kazakhstan has previously qualified for just one Olympics — in Beijing in 2008. Japan is playing to qualify for a record 12th games.
Yuki Ishii led Japan with 11 points off the bench. Sarina Koga contributed nine.
Japan never trailed throughout the match, winning the first two sets so comfortably that coach Masayoshi Manabe rested starters Miyu Nagaoka, captain Saori Kimura and Erika Araki for the final set, playing all 14 team players by the end.
Japan’s bench, though, was more than good enough as the host outscored Kazakhstan 75-40 to the delight of another sellout crowd at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
South Korea rolled to a 3-0 (29-27, 25-23, 25-21) win against the Netherlands for its first victory, bouncing back from its opening-day defeat to Italy behind 24 points from London Olympic MVP Kim Yeon-koung.
Italy made it a perfect 2-for-2 by defeating Thailand 3-1 (17-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-16), while the Dominican Republic, the second-highest ranked team in the tournament behind Japan, lost again — this time to Peru 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 26-24).
The highest finisher from Asia in the eight-team round-robin competition qualifies automatically for Rio de Janeiro along with the top three teams overall.