Russia have taken a giant step towards Olympic qualification with a 3-0 (25-17, 31-29, 25-23) victory over arch rivals Team USA on day nine of the FIVB Women’s World Cup.
Tatiana Kosheleva led Russia with a game-high 16 points, while Nataliya Obmochaeva continued her dominant tournament with 14 points.
The win sees the 8-1 Russians claim top spot on 24 points with two games remaining, while the US plummeted into fourth place on 22 points with their second defeat of the championship.
China benefited from the Americans’ slip up, belting the Dominican Republic 25-16, 25-17, 25-19 to storm into second spot on equal points with Russia.
The top two teams after 11 round-robin matches will earn a spot in next year’s Olympic Game in Rio.
Serbia continued their steady climb up the standings with a straight-set 25-22, 25-19, 25-15 triumph over Cuba.
Stefana Veljkovic and Ana Bjelica both had 10 points for the Serbians who enter the final two matches in third spot on 21 points.
Tournament hosts Japan are the only other team still in the hunt for Olympic qualification after crushing winless Algeria 3-0 (25-8, 25-10, 25-6).
They are 7-2 for tournament on 22 points.
In other results, Argentina outlasted South American rivals Argentina in five sets – 16-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 15-12 – and Korea cruised to a 3-0 (21-16,
21-16 21-19) win over Kenya.