Gangneung, Republic of Korea
Friday 10 March 2017
Russia advances to third consecutive championship final, Norway to meet Scotland in semi-final
After twelve sessions of round-robin play and one tie-breaker match, the three teams potentially competing for a gold medal on (11 March) will be Russia, Norway and Scotland.
In the page 1v2 play-off showdown featuring Russia and Scotland, the Russians kept it simple after opening with two consecutive stolen points to jump 2-0 after two ends. The back-to-back defending champions and leaders all week, didn’t waste time putting pressure on the Scots. In the first end Scotland rolled too far on a hit and roll attempt against three points, giving up one point. A similar story in the second end, when Scotland faced an open take-out against two Russian stones but once again rolled too far, giving another point.
With hopes of scoring two points in the fourth end, Scotland blanked the third end. Despite their efforts, Scotland settled for one point in the fourth end. With another single point for Russia in the fifth end, the scoreboard reaffirmed the control they had throughout five ends 3-1. A third hit and roll out of the house gave the Russians an additional point in the sixth end. Scotland skip, Aileen Neilson, made a pressure draw-against four stones to the eight-foot for their single point in the seventh end to keep the Scots afloat to fight one more end.
In the eighth end, Scotland attempted a freeze on the opponent stone in the top of the eight-foot but rubbed off a tight guard, rolling open into the house, leaving Russia with a take-out for the victory 4-2 to advance to their third straight final.
Norway earned themselves a spot in the page 3v4 game after winning three games straight, including a tie-breaker over Canada 5-4. Facing China, the two teams traded single points until the fifth end when skip Rune Lorentsen, 2016 silver medalist, capitalised on failed take-outs with a draw for three points.
Needing to come back with a big end, China was forced to one point on a stay-alive six foot tap-back to the eight-foot against three Norwegian stones. Norway missed an opportunity to widen the gap in the seventh end when their final stone sailed through the house on a draw for two points. Welcoming the single point, and a three point lead in the eighth end, Norway ran the Chinese out of stones to book their ticket to the semi-final against Scotland.
In the morning session, Switzerland downed Germany 11-3 in a relegation tie-breaker.
They said it
Andrey Smirnov; Russia skip (after 4-2 win over Scotland): "We played really well, didn’t make mistakes and played to the tactics we set before the game. That was how we won today.
"The most important thing is that we play well [in the gold medal game]. Both teams [Scotland and Norway] are very good teams and really pleasant people. It’s a pleasure to play with each of them so it doesn’t matter which one of them we play tomorrow."
Rune Lorentsen; Norway skip (after 6-3 over China): “We came in very confident after winning three in a row. We won against Canada and USA. We changed skips to build a little more spirit into the team so everyone was getting a higher performance level. We changed back now to get even more.
"We are a strong team at the end of a competition. Usually we love to be in ahead in points but we are pretty good at stealing. We always have tight games [against Scotland] except in the round-robin game, where they got five in the first end and we were chasing the whole time. Hopefully we get a better start this time, and if we play like we are playing now we have a good chance.”
Results page play-offs: 1v2: Russia 4-2 Scotland; 3v4: Norway 6-3 China.
Results tie-breakers: Play-off: Norway 5-4 Canada; Relegation: Germany 3-11 Switzerland.
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