2017 Asian Men’s Senior Championships
Kazakhstan def. Korea 3-2 (20-25, 15-25, 25-17, 25-23, 16-14)
Japan def. Indonesia 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-23)
Japan will have a chance to defend its 2015 title and earn its ninth overall Asian Men’s Championship on Tuesday after sweeping host Indonesia in the semifinals.
Kazakhstan, which earned its lone podium finish with a silver in 1993, will look to stand in Japan’s way after edging Korea in five sets in the semis.
The bronze medal match will pit Korea, the 2013 runner up and a 16-time medalist, against Indonesia, which appeared in its first ever final four on Monday.
Kazakhstan 3, Korea 2
Kazakhstan ended Korea’s undefeated run through the Asian Championships by coming back from down 2-0 in the semifinals on Monday.
“It’s beyond my expectation,” Kazakh coach Igor Nikolchenko said. “I have never thought that my team can come this far. I think we played well today against Korea despite our dismal start. We exploited effective high blocks and combination attacks. Everyone helped one another as we just don’t want to lose easily. We will try to do our best in the final round.”
Korea, previously 6-0, took the first two sets with solid offense. Kazakhstan responded with a strong blocking front in Sets 3 and 4 to force a tie break. The teams were knotted at 13-all in Set 5. Kazakhstan had the first chance at the match at 14-13, but Korea kept the match going. A kill by Vitaliy Erdshtein and ace by Alexandr Stolnikov gave the Kazakhs the upset victory.
Erdshtein paced Kazakhstan with 19 points, including 14 kills and three ace. Vitaliy Varivodin added 14 points with 13 kills, while Anton Kuznetsov chipped in four blocks.
Moon Sungmin racked up 19 points for Korea, including 18 kills, while Shin Yungsuk notched 15 points, with 10 kills, three blocks and two aces.
Japan 3, Indonesia 0
Japan crushed the host side Indonesia’s hope of a finals berth with a close 25-17, 26-24, 25-23 win on Monday in front of a crowd of 3,500.
“We played a very good match against Indonesia at their home,” Japanese coach Yuichi Nakagaichi said. “In the second set, we made a lot of mistakes and that is why we struggled. Against Kazakhstan in the final, our serving and passing remain the key to success. Tomorrow will be our last match of the tournament, we just try to do our best and focus on what we have been training for.”