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By Yuka Obayashi
TOKYO (Reuters) -Top-ranked United States crushed the Dominican Republic in straight sets on Wednesday and will face Serbia in the women's Olympic volleyball semi-finals, while South Korea stunned Turkey in a thrilling full-set match, securing a spot in the top four.
U.S. opposite Andrea Drews scored 21 points to lead the team to a comprehensive quarter-final victory at Tokyo's Ariake Arena, with the 2016 bronze medallists winning 25-11 25-20 25-19.
Injured ace spiker Jordan Thompson, who sprained her ankle on Saturday, was back on the bench but was not brought on as a substitute.
"We don't have one player we depend on. We have 12. We have the mindset that we're all starters and we each have a job to do," Drews said.
Earlier, South Korea edged Turkey, making its first quarter-final appearance, taking the five-setter 17-25 25-17 28-26 18-25 15-13 to advance to the semi-finals for the first time since 2012.
Captain Kim Yeon-koung led Korea with 28 points, while their clever serving helped make the Turkish side look unsteady, hampering its powerful offence.
"We had strong serves and our rich experience also helped," Kim said.
South Korea was also confident in its strong team defence.
"In Europe, United States and South America, it's very physical volleyball with emphasis on power, height and speed," Korea head coach Stefano Lavarini said.
"So we have to create strategies. We save ourselves with great defence, great diggers. We showed that it works."
BRAZIL TRIUMPH, ITALY ELIMINATED
Led by opposite spiker Tijana Boskovic's 24 points, Rio silver medallists Serbia beat Italy in straight sets 25-21 25-14 25-21 in just 72 minutes.
World champions Serbia steadily built their lead with a combination of accurate receptions and spikes.
"We know Serbia are a really good team but the problem is not Serbia, it's our game," Italy's middle blocker, Anna Danesi, said. "It was like we were never in the game. We have to try to learn from our mistakes."
World No.2 Brazil fended off the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 23-25 25-21 25-19 25-22. Five Brazilians finished in double figures led by Gabriela Guimaraes' 18 points.
For the next stage on Friday, Brazil will clash with South Korea, which it had defeated in the preliminary match.
"We just need to keep our patience and understand what we did wrong today to change a little bit," Guimaraes said.
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Bill Berkrot)