The U.S. women's volleyball team knows Japan so well that long points are a given. Patience is an absolute must. Against the best defensive team in the world, balls are going to come back across the net.

Karch Kiraly's top-ranked Americans moved one step closer to its goal of capturing the Americans' first volleyball gold, defeating familiar opponent Japan in straight sets Tuesday to reach the semifinals.

"Before we go into any match with Japan we have to know we need to have a lot of patience," outside hitter Kim Hill said.

The unbeaten U.S. (6-0) won 25-16, 25-23, 25-22 and has dropped just five sets all tournament. The Americans will face Russia or Serbia in Thursday's semifinals at Maracanazinho arena.

"Our approach is the same every time, so that didn't even really feel like an Olympic quarterfinal match," Kiraly said. "That's good. We're just playing volleyball against Japan."

The U.S. has faced Japan more times than any other team since 1983. The Americans have won the last three meetings on the Olympic stage against Japan, opening the 2008 Beijing Games with a four-set victory and sweeping Japan in a match at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

"They have a lot of fight in them, so it took a lot of patience on our end, and regrouping and resetting," middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo said. "I was proud of the team we were able to get it out in three sets."

Two-time reigning Olympic champion Brazil will take on a young China team in Tuesday's late match for a date with the upstart Netherlands women, who beat South Korea in four sets. The Dutch are in their first Olympics in 20 years and went 4-1 in group play behind the Americans

Japan, one of the top defensive teams in the world, had a 7-0 run in the third set before the Americans closed it out. Now, the U.S. is two wins from gold.

"I don't have any expectations. Others may have them, but I don't," said Kiraly, the only person to win gold as a player in beach and indoor volleyball and looking to become the first as a coach and player.

"We talk about it a lot, the power of low expectations."

The U.S. has faced Japan more times than any other team since 1983. The Americans have won the last three meetings on the Olympic stage against Japan, opening the 2008 Beijing Games with a four-set victory and sweeping Japan in a match at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Two-time reigning Olympic champion and host Brazil was set to take on a young China team in Tuesday's late match for a Thursday date with the upstart Netherlands women, who beat South Korea in four sets. The Dutch are back in their first Olympics in 20 years and went 4-1 in group play behind the Americans.