With their main challengers China, Great Britain and Sweden all losing one of their two matches during the day’s sessions, Canada’s place in the semi-finals is now assured.
However, in their first game the Canadians had to work hard to see off an obdurate Japan, whose resistance was finally broken in the eighth end, when they took a 7-5 lead, before sealing an 8-6 win in the last exchange.
It was a different story against Russia, as the Canadians were in control from the start, building a 5-2 lead by the halfway mark. With the host team scoring the only point of the next five ends, Canada closed out for a 5-3 victory.
“The goal was to give ourselves a chance to be on the podium and we've done that,” said a delighted Canada skip Jennifer Jones.
“We're loving the Olympics,” she added. “We've waited a lifetime for this moment and it's beyond everything we've expected.”
China meanwhile got off to a flier against rivals Sweden, building up a 3-0 lead by the end of the third end. However, the Swedes fought back to take the score to 3-2 going into the break.
Thereafter it was a neck-and-neck affair, with the two heavyweights going into the final end tied at 6-6. But the Chinese made last stone advantage count to clinch a 7-6 victory.
“Everyone knows that Sweden are a really strong team – they are the European champions so we had to do everything to win,” said a relieved Chinese skip Bingyu Wang.
However Bingyu’s rink then undid their good work against Denmark, who recorded just their second win of Sochi 2014 with a momentous 9-6 result. The Danes shrugged off a strong start by their opponents to take a 5-4 lead into the break, and stayed in front for the remaining five ends.
“I feel happy and relieved,” said Nielsen. “She (Bingyu Wang) has been here before and has played so many world championships, and you have to be awake the whole time.”
World champions Great Britain suffered an early setback against Republic of Korea, but quickly recovered with a three-pointer in the second end, before opening up a 5-2 lead going into the break.
The Koreans continued to demonstrate their scoring potential, taking an 8-7 lead in the eighth end to set up a grandstand finish. But British skip Eve Muirhead showed nerves of steel with her last stone of the final end to score three points and clinch a dramatic 10-8 victory.
“Winning the game the way we did puts down a marker. It's great to know we can play these ends under pressure,” said Muirhead.
In the afternoon session however, Muirhead’s rink were punished by a slow start against Switzerland and found themselves down 3-2 after five ends.
The gap was then extended to four points after a rare Muirhead lapse in the sixth. Despite a British fight-back, the Swiss held out for an 8-6 victory.
“I’m happy and I'm proud of my team,” said Swiss skip Mirjam Ott. “We still need to play for the semi-finals... It'll be tough but we can still fight for it.”
In the evening session’s other match, the USA continued their losing streak against Sweden, going down 7-6 to end their hopes of further progress.
The Americans put up a valiant fight and found themselves 2-1 up going into the fourth end.
However, Sweden then upped their game to lead 4-3 at the break, before their fourth player Maria Prytz scored the crucial point in the tenth end to secure a narrow win that put the Scandinavian rink in second place in the standings, with five wins from seven.
Women standings after 9 sessions:
1. Canada 7-0 (Qualified for semi-finals)
2. Sweden 5-2
3. China 4-3
3. Great Britain 4-3
3. Switzerland 4-3
6. Russia 3-4
7. Japan 2-4
7. Korea 2-4
9. Denmark 2-5
10. USA 1-6