TOKYO (AFP) –
Two-time world champions Russia moved to within a step of the London Olympics when they defeated Serbia for a fifth straight win in the women’s volleyball qualifying tournament on Friday.
The Russian women, who would have qualified by winning in three sets, lost a set for the first time in the competition before winning 25-18, 25-11, 14-25, 25-22 with Evgenia Estes top scoring with 18 points
“We had a problem with receiving in the third set, but we were able to solve the problem and get the win,” said Russia’s coach Sergey Ovchinnikov.
Russia now have 15 points from five wins, ahead of Japan on 11 points, and Serbia, Thailand and South Korea on nine points.
The top three teams in the eight-team round robin and the best placed Asian team among the rest will qualify for the Olympics.
Italy, the United States and China have already qualified after taking medals at the World Cup last year with continental champions Algeria, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Brazil as well as hosts Britain joining them.
Thailand outgunned Peru 25-19, 25-19, 25-20, while South Korea whipped Taiwan 25-8, 25-12, 25-18.
In the dramatic last match of the day, Japan edged past former world champions Cuba 25-23, 18-25, 25-16, 23-25, 17-15, moving to within one more win to claim a ticket to the Olympics.