Nagoya, Japan, October 14, 2018 - Tijana Boskovic scored a match-high 24 points as Serbia beat Japan 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-23) in the third round of the FIVB Women's World Championship on Sunday night.
Brankica Mihajlovic had 18 points in the victory, while Milena Rasic added six points.
Miyu Nagaoka led Japan with 10 points in the loss.
Serbia and Japan both entered the match with 7-2 records. Japan beat Serbia 3-1 in the second round.
Boskovic had missed the past two matches with an injury to her abdominal muscles.
Serbia came out strongly from the outset, putting pressure on Japan on serve and attack, and thoroughly dominated the contest. Boskovic and Mihajlovic blasted away relentlessly during the match.
Yuki Ishii put Japan up 5-4 in the opening set with a quick spike off a return. Serbia responded with four straight points and led 8-5 at the first TTO. Boskovic and Mihajlovic excelled as the Serbs scored quickly on attack and ran up a 15-7 advantage. The Japan defense could not find an answer to the Serb offensive in a set that featured few rallies. Serbia was active on both offense and defense, smothering the court. Japan tried to make a late run in the set, with Ishii's block cutting their deficit to 23-19. Serbia claimed the set 25-19 when Nagaoka's spike went out.
Serbia jumped to a 7-3 lead in the second set, continuing a blistering attack on offense and displaying some crafty play of defense to keep several plays alive. There were more rallies in the second set as Japan battled to try and slow the Serbs down. An Araki spike saw Japan trailing 14-9. A Boskovic spike then gave Serbia a 16-9 lead at the second TTO. Boskovic flew in a back attack and the Serbs were up 20-13. An ace by Ognjenovic made it 23-15 for Serbia. They took the set 25-18 on a net violation.
A block by Risa Shinnabe gave Japan a 6-5 lead in the third set. Mai Okumura blocked a Boskovic spike and Japan was up 8-6 at the first TTO. Serbia moved ahead 12-10 and Japan called a timeout to try and halt the surge. Japan moved ahead 15-14 on a spike by Sarina Koga and Serbia began making mistakes. Boskovic fired a spike long and Japan led 16-14 at the second TTO. Koga fired an ace and Japan was up 19-17. Rasic misplayed a spike and Japan moved out to 21-18 lead. Rasic's ace equalized the set at 22-22 forcing Japan to a timeout. A block by Bianka Busa pushed the Serbs back front at 23-22. Ai Kurogo sent a serve long for match point and Serbia closed it out 25-23 on a reverse tap by Ognjenovic.