China beat Great Britain by 6-5 to finish third in the final standings, behind Sweden and Canada, and qualify for the semi-finals. Defeat meant that the British will now go into a tie-breaker on 18 February against Norway, who themselves lost 5-3 to Denmark, for the right to face Sweden in the last four.
With so much at stake, the game between China and Great Britain was predictably tight all the way, as the teams were level at 3-3 after six ends and again, at 5-5 going into the tenth. Chinese skip Rui Liu then outwitted his British counterpart David Murdoch to score the vital point that sent his rink into the semis.
“I feel very happy to have reached the semi-finals,” said Liu. “I think that we controlled the scoreboard, that was the key to winning this game.”
Denmark denied Norway an automatic place in the last four, pushing their fellow Scandinavians all the way before skip Rasmus Stjerne Hansen scored the decisive points in the ninth to give his rink a 5-3 win.
“Huge win,” said Hansen. “We had a tough week. “The Norwegian guys have been playing very well and they were playing for a spot in the semi-finals, so it was not an easy game.”
In the other two games of the final session, it was all about honour and final ranking positions. Germany and Russia contested a tight match which the fast-improving hosts edged 8-7, leaving the Germans at the bottom of the standings.
Meanwhile, Switzerland took a first end lead against the USA, which they maintained throughout, ending up as 6-3 winners. “It was a great experience, a great tournament, a great crowd, a great stadium,” enthused Switzerland skip Sven Michel. “We are not too happy with our ranking but we will try our best to do better next time.”
Men’s standings after 12 sessions:
1. Sweden 8-1 (will face winner of tie-breaker in semi-final)
2. Canada 7-2 (will face China in semi-final)
3. China 7-2 (will face Canada in semi-final)
4. Norway 5-4 (will face Great Britain in tie-breaker)
4. Great Britain 5-4 (will face Norway in tie-breaker)
6. Denmark 4-5
7. Russia 3-6
8. Switzerland 3-6
9. USA 2-7
10. Germany 1-8