March 20, 2012
After eleven round-robin sessions of the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2012 in Lethbridge, Canada, Korea are the somewhat unexpected table-toppers, on six wins and just one loss.
The Koreans had two narrow wins on Tuesday – in the afternoon they beat Denmark by 9-8 when they stole a single point in an extra end as Danish skip Lene Nielsen missed a take-out for the second end in succession. In the evening, they faced China and looked to be in charge when they scored three points in the first end. But China had different ideas, and fought back throughout the game. This game came down to the last stone of the last end and when Chinese skip Bingyu Wang was light with her final draw, Korea stole one point and won by 7-5.
After this game, Korean skip Ji-Sun Kim said in English: “my shot-play is usually very good but today it wasn’t so good, but we won. Maybe we are very lucky - it’s just unbelievable.”
Behind Korea, three teams - Canada, Sweden and Switzerland - sit in joint second on five wins and two losses.
In their second game of the day, Canada lost by 8-4 to Sweden, a result which was largely dictated by Sweden’s scores of three points in both the third and fifth ends. Their fourth player, Maria Prytz, was outstanding with her shot making and afterwards said: “Yes, I felt I played well and all the team played well. I made almost every stone. The two threes made the game that helped us but we knew that in these ice conditions our opponents could easily get a two, so we didn’t relax too much, but it felt great.”
In their afternoon game, the Swedes had lost by 3-7 to Russia, with the turning point being in the fifth end when Russia scored a huge five points on their way to victory. About this, Prytz said, “we struggled against Russia – we lost the five but we tried to put that behind us”. Meanwhile Russian skip Anna Sidorova said, “it was a great end when we took five. It is really difficult when you know you have four and I had to make the fifth, but we did it. The main thing for curlers is to believe in themselves, and we did”.
Switzerland’s evening win came courtesy of a score of a rare six points in the third end of their game against the Czech Republic. After this, the Czechs could not get back into the game and lost by 5-9 in just seven ends.
Swiss skip Mirjam Ott said, “we had a great end where we scored six and we are happy about getting another win. We placed some really good shots in that end, the Czechs had some misses and we took the opportunity. “I hope our confidence continues to grow. We have another four games against another four good teams so we still have to play very well.”
This was a second tough defeat of the day for the Czech team. Earlier, they had gone down to Scotland by 4-8. After this game, Scottish skip Eve Muirhead said, “that was a solid performance, I feel like I’m throwing the stone well and the shots are starting to come off now. We’re getting a few breaks and I hope we can just keep going this way now”.
Italy suffered two defeats on Tuesday. In the afternoon session they went down by 9-6 to Germany in a game that concluded with Germany scoring three points, after which German skip Melanie Robillard said, “that game was a complete roller-coaster, but we kept it together.” About the score of three she added, “there were a lot of rocks in the house. It got a bit dangerous and I made the shot – maybe the only shot I made and it worked out perfectly.”
The Italians will want to forget about their evening game against USA which they lost by 1-10 in just seven ends. The Americans opened with two points in first end and then had steals in third, fourth and fifth ends to lead 7-0 at halfway. Italy got their solitary point in the sixth end but when USA scored three points in the seventh, the Italians conceded.
After this game, US second player Natalie Nicholson said, “we’ve been playing well. I think it’s just a matter of focusing on one game at a time. You hate to hope other teams help you out, but you can’t count on it so you have to try to do the best yourself.”
Session 10: Russia 7, Sweden 3; Scotland 8, Czech Republic 5; Germany 9, Italy 6; Denmark 8, Korea 9 (extra end).
Session 11: Czech Republic 5, Switzerland 9; Sweden 8, Canada 4; Korea 7, China 5; Italy 1, USA 10.
Standings after 11 Draws:
Czech Republic 2-5