Bari, Italy, September 24, 2014 - Azerbaijan upset Japan 3-2 (17-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-12, 15-9) in the second match of pool D on the first day of the FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship at PalaFlorio in Bari. Key points:• Polina Rahimova led Azerbaijan with 33 points, followed by Kseniya Kovalenko with 15; Japan were led by Saori Kimura with 20 points. • It was the first meeting between Japan and Azerbaijan in the World Championships; they have never met in any of the other major tournaments – Olympic Games, World Grand Prix and World Cup.• Japan had 11 service points to Azerbaijan’s five.• In their first match of 2010 Japan beat Poland 3-2• Japan opened the World Championship 2010 winning Poland 3-2• Japan had 2 block points to Azerbaijan’s 18.• Azerbaijan have won 6 matches in World Championship so far.
The second match of the opening day of the Pool D was definitively surprising.
Japan opened in strong fashion with two attacks of Saori Kimura. Mizuho Ishida followed with two impressive serves that found the mark to put Japan 4-0 ahead, forcing Azerbaijan into a timeout. Japan edged further ahead with an error of Azerbaijan. A Nagaoka's kill put Japan 8-0 up going into the First Technical Timeout (FTT). Polina Rahimova put the first point (8-1) for Azerbaijan before Japanese held a 16-3 advantage going into the Second Technical Timeout (STT). After Azerbaijan beat off four set points, a spike by Saori Kimura put Japan 1-0 up (25-17).
In the second set, both teams showed great defensive work. Yelena Parkhomenko expecially has stopped Japanese's attacks several times (5-8). Hinotori Nippon closed the gap to 7-8, then took the lead at 10-9. Manabe's players led at 16-14 at the second TTO. Azerbaijan fought back and a crisp cross-court kill by Rahimova put her team 19-17 ahead forcing Manabe to call a timeout. It was not worthy: Polina Rahimova scored her 16th point of the match to level the set scores at 1-1.
The battle continued to be intense at the start of the third set. Saori Sakoda gave Japan an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout. Two Azerbaijan’s errors increased that to 10-7. Coach Chervyakov called a timeout. Japan moved into a 16-11 lead at the second TTO. A hard service of Ishida Mizuho took an important lead (21-15) but Azerbaijan did not give up and responded with a pair of spikes by Rahimova (21-20). After Manabe's timeout, Japan regained control. A miraculous Risa Shinnabe's dig gave Hinotori Nippon the set at 25-20.
After the first technical timeout in the fourth set, Rahimova and Gurbanova traded points to extend Azerbaijan's lead to 15-10, forcing Manabe into a timeout. Kovalenko and Gurbanova moved seven points ahead at 21-14. Parkomenko Zaytsev put the last point (25-21).
Azerbaijan got off to a great start rushing to 5-0 lead in the tiebreak. Strong attack of Rahimova (7-1) and block of Kovalenko (10-2) increased the lead. Japan closed the gap to 8-11, only to find Chervyakov's team close the match with a fast spike of Kseniya Kovalenko (15-9).