Sweden’s women see off hosts to book their ticket to the curling semi-finals
Sweden joined Canada in the semi-finals of the women’s curling competition at Sochi 2014 as they clinched a hard-fought 5-4 victory over Russia at the Ice Cube, while Denmark and Japan kept their hopes of a last-four place alive.
With the host team needing a victory to keep their own qualification hopes alive, Sweden were always likely to face a stiff test, and in the first half each team only managed one score apiece to go into the break at 2-2.
The second half was equally tight, with the score locked together at 3-3 going into the penultimate end. Russia then edged ahead in the ninth, before the Swedes scored two crucial points in the final end to ensure their progress to the last four.
“It was a good team performance today,” reflected Sweden skip Margaretha Sigfridsson. “There was some good spirit and good energy on the ice.”
Canada meanwhile made it eight wins from eight games, but needed an extra end to overcome their US neighbours 7-6.
The Canadians started strongly, scoring twice in the first end and then stealing a single in the second for a 3-0 lead. But the Americans drew level at 3-3 in the third, and the teams went into the break tied at 4-4.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Canada opening up a 6-4 lead, before being pegged back to 6-6 by a dogged US rink in the tenth, forcing an extra end.
However, the Canadians took ruthless advantage of the last stone, as skip Jennifer Jones kept a cool head to secure the winning point and preserve her rink’s 100 percent record.
“We feel good,” said Jones. “The game didn’t mean a lot in terms of the rankings but you don’t want to lose those close ones.”
Single points from the Koreans in the eighth and tenth ends were not enough to prevent the Scandinavians from sealing a 7.4 result that puts them on three wins and keeps their hopes of making the semi-finals alive
“It’s a win and of course important, said Nielsen. “I’m happy with the result. We really just want to keep going.”
In the other match of the 10th session, Switzerland opened strongly against Japan, building a two-point lead after as many ends.
However, Japan responded with a sequence of five unanswered scores to lead 5-2 at half-time.
The pendulum then swung again, as the Swiss drew level at 5-5; and the teams were again deadlocked at 7-7 in the tenth, to push the match into an extra end.
Japan’s skip Ayumi Ogasawara had the last word, drawing her final stone onto the button for a two-pointer and a 9-7 win.
“We’re so happy to get the win against Mirjam Ott,” said Ogasawara. “It was a very exciting experience – I’ve never beaten her before so it means a lot.”
Women’s standings after 10 sessions:
1. Canada 8-0 (Qualified for semi-finals)
2. Sweden 6-2 (Qualified for semi-finals)
3. China 4-3
3. Great Britain 4-3
5. Switzerland 4-4
6. Japan 3-4
7. Denmark 3-5
7. Russia 3-5
9. Korea 2-5
10. USA 1-7