Reigning world champions the United States eased to a straight-sets victory against Cuba at the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Women’s World Cup to ensure their place at the top of the standings going into the third round of play.
A comfortable 25-15, 25-11, 25-15 win at the expense of the four-time World Cup winners in Okayama saw the Americans move onto 22 points with seven victories from eight matches.
Tetori Dixon captured the most impressive player award thanks to six kills, five blocks and two aces, while US team mates Kimberly Hill and Jordan Larson-Burbach added nine and eight points respectively.
"I think we played really well together; Cuba are a really good team so it’s hard to play against them," said Dixon.
"We had to adjust a lot of things along the way but I think we played really well together.
"I think our coaches do a really good job of scouting teams ahead of time and we did a good job in practice of tidying up the block and I think our hard work showed today."
Elsewhere in Okayama, China clinched their fifth-straight win by overcoming Argentina 25-14, 25-15, 25-20.
Ace spiker Zhu Ting returned from a three-match absence to score 15 points for China, who sit a point behind the US.
Joining the US and China on seven wins are Russia and Serbia who got the better of Peru and Japan respectively in Sendai.
Tatiana Kosheleva spearheaded the Russian attack once more in their 25-14, 25-10, 25-20 triumph over Peru, top-scoring with 19 points, followed by Natalia Malykh with 15 points.
Serbia, meanwhile, were made to work much harder for their victory, coming from behind to ensure a 24-26, 25-17, 25-14, 21-25, 15-9 success against Japan.
Tijana Boskovic topped the scoring charts with 28 points, followed by team mate Brankica Mihajlovic with 26 points, as Serbia overcame a fourth-set fight back from Japan to win the match via a tie-break.
In the two other matches played, Kenya finally got themselves off the mark with a 25-14, 25-11, 25-11 victory against winless Algeria in Okayama, while South Korea defied their inferior ranking to beat the Dominican Republic 18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-18 in Sendai.
Following two rest days action is due to resume in Japan on Friday (September 4) with the first set of third-round fixtures across the cities of Nagoya and Komaki.
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