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Japan beats China into women's volleyball semifinals


16:49, August 08, 2012

China's Hui Ruoqi (L) spikes the ball against Japan's players during their women's quarterfinal volleyball match at Earls Court during the London 2012 Olympic Games, Aug 7, 2012.(Xinhua)

Japan outgunned Asian archrival China 3-2 in the semifinals of the women's volleyball event at the London Olympics on Tuesday.

China, champion in 2004 Athens Games and bronze medal winner in Beijing Games, lost the match 28-26, 23-25, 25-23, 23-25 and 18-16 at the Earls Court, central London. Japanese wing spiker Yuiko Ebata scored a game high 33 points as the team showcased their renown solid defense, while Chinese Hui Ruoqi contributed 26 points to Chia.

It's the first time for the Japanese to make into the top four in 24 years. Last time, they entered the semifinals in 1988 Seoul Games, but they lost to China in bronze medal match.

The Japanese will face defending champion Brazil in the semifinals, which beat Russia in a five-set thriller later.

Head coach Masayoshi Manabe,always with a stern look on his face, couldn't hide his happiness win the hard win.

"It's a tough game. China is very strong and their performances are very competitive, they have presented good blocking and spike," said Manabe.

On the reason to offset China's power, the coach said "we are not in advantage when height is concerned, so we have tried very hard to do reception well and save every possible ball," he said.

Japanese top score Kimura showed strong ambitions for a medal.

"I have been playing and practising for three and a half years to win the medal, so to be on that stage is wonderful," said Kimura.

"Whichever team we meet, I will try my best," she said.

"We lost the match because of errors at the key points. We had a lot of pressure. We really wanted to win. But the match today might still be one of the legends at Olympics,"said China's head coach Yu Juemin.

"My girls tried so hard, but the Japanese controlled the rhythm of the match. It seemed we were confined by their fast counter-attack, no matter we were in the lead or not," he said.

Yu gave high praise to key player Wang Yimei, who have been suffering from her ankle injury for three months, and is highly possible not able to play for the next Olympics. She scored the second team high 22 points.

"It's the last Olympics for many of my players, like Wang. She actually played quite stable throughout the tournament. She showed great fighting spirit through our ups and downs. I'm proud of her," he said.

After the match, China's captain Wei Qiuyue was soaked in sadness at the court side, shading tears over the shoulder of her teammate Ma Yunwen, who was trying to console her, but is barely able to say a word.

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