Kyoto, Japan, June 25, 2016 – For the second night in a row, Serbia have won their FIVB World Grand Prix match in five sets, this time beating Japan 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 17-25, 27-25, 15-8) on the back of a game-high 24 points from Brankica Mihajlovic in Kyoto on Saturday.
The win came one night after Serbia stunned Russia 3-2, with Tijana Boskovic and Milena Rasic each contributing 18 points to help Serbia beat Japan.
Serbia started the match well, but Japan star Yukiko Ebata was firing early and helped them lead 16-10 at the second technical timeout. Mihajlovic and Boskovic were imposing themselves on the contest though and guided Serbia to a 25-23 first-set win.
Mihajlovic scored with an ace to give Serbia a 6-5 lead in the second set, but Arisa Inoue continued her sound efforts after a good first set, and helped Japan lead 20-17 before she killed a spike on set-point to give them a 25-20 win and level the match at 1-1.
Ebata was sharp in the opening exchanges of the third set and despite Mihajlovic’s best efforts, Japan continued to surge and took the third set 25-20 and edge in front 2-1 in the match.
It remained the two protagonists from either side who were doing plenty of damage at each end of the court, but when Mihajlovic scored to draw Serbia level with Japan at 24-24, it gave them an opportunity to push towards levelling the match at 2-2, and that they did courtesy of a Mihajlovic kill to win the set 27-25.
Ebata continued to work hard for Japan and despite her team-high 21 points for the match, Serbia were dominant and won the set 15-8 and the match 3-2.