Russia make play-offs with one more day of round-robin games to go

  • Russia’s third player Anastasia Bryzgalova © WCF / Richard Gray

With Olympic champions Sweden already qualified, the other seven teams in action in Thursday evening’s 17th session of round-robin play at the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2019 in Silkeborg, Denmark came onto the ice knowing that victory would enhance their chances of joining them in the weekend’s play-off and medal games.

Russia, with their 7-4 win over Scotland, became the second team to join Sweden in the play-off line-up. Meanwhile, wins for Switzerland, by 7-6 over Japan; and China, by 11-9 over Korea, moved these two winning teams closer to the play-offs.

Sweden beat Germany by 8-3 for their ninth successive win to consolidate their position at the top of the standings.

In the game between Scotland and Russia, it was the Scots who opened strongly, scoring two points in the first end. By the fifth end break, the Russians had reeled the Scots back and the teams were tied at 2-2. Eventually, in the ninth end, Russia’s skip Alina Kovaleva drew her final stone into position to score three points for a 7-4 lead. Scotland had no answer in the tenth end and Russia went on to win by 7-4 and join Sweden in qualifying for the play-off games.

After this win, Russia skip Alina Kovaleva said, “We’re happy about qualification, we knew we had to win this game because we lost this morning. Now we know the most important games are ahead of us, so we need to concentrate more now. Everyone on our team understands that the games are now much more important, but we’re having lots of fun – not every time of course, but we’re trying to be happy.”

Japan faced Switzerland, and in the second end, Switzerland’s fourth player Alina Paetz played a hit on a Japan stone to score three points and take a 3-1 lead. Then, in the tenth end with the score tied at 6-6, Paetz played a draw shot onto the button, just inside a Japan stone to score the one point that gave them a 7-6 win and kept their campaign alive.

After this game, Switzerland skip Silvana Tirinzoni said, “That was so close and it’s hard on the nerves, but I’m so happy that Alina made that last draw. Now we will just keep fighting, keep going and try to get better with every game.”

Sweden faced Germany in this session and after the Germans had blanked the first three ends before scoring two points in the fourth end, Sweden skip Anna Hasselborg hit out a German stone in the fifth end to score two points and level the game at 2-2. In the eighth end, Sweden’s Hasselborg hit out a German stone to score five points for 8-3. Germany then conceded.

In the fourth game of the session, Korea faced China and, in the fifth end, with China leading by 4-2, Korea’s skip Minji Kim played a double take-out on two Chinese stones sitting near the button, to score five points and take a 7-4 lead. However, China responded in the next end when their fourth player Rui Wang played a nose-hit on a Korean stone to score four points and give her team the lead again, at 8-7. After this, China held on to win by 11-9.

Speaking later, China skip Jie Mei said, “We’ve really had our ups and downs, especially when we gave up the five, but we didn’t give up and we fought to the end. Now we’ll try our best again. Although we gave Korea five, fortunately we came right back with our four, but… that’s curling!”

These result leave Sweden in a clear top spot with second-placed Russia also qualified. Behind them Korea and Switzerland are tied in third place while China are fifth. Currently, three teams are tied in sixth – the crucial last qualification slot – Canada, Japan and United States. Behind them, Germany and Scotland still have mathematical chances of qualifying.

Results

Session 17: Japan 6-7 Switzerland; Sweden 8-3 Germany; Scotland 4-7 Russia; Korea 9-11 China

Standings (W-L)

Q Sweden 9-1
Q Russia 8-3
Korea 7-3
Switzerland 7-3
China 7-4
Canada 5-5
Japan 5-5
United States 5-5
Germany 4-6
Scotland 4-6
Denmark 2-8
Finland 2-8
Latvia 1-9

To engage with the World Curling Federation on social media during the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2019 follow it on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (@WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting: #WWCC2019 #curling