March 22, 2012
Sweden, Switzerland and Korea are through to the playoff stages of the 2012 World Women’s Curling Championship with Canada and USA facing a tiebreaker for the fourth final-stage spot.
Sweden and Korea ended their round robin campaign on eight wins and guaranteed places in the weekend Page Play-offs. Canada, Switzerland and USA all played in Thursday evening’s final round-robin session with ambitions of joining them.
Eventually, Switzerland clinched second spot in the final rankings, with a 6-4 win over Russia. The Swiss opened their score when skip Mirjam Ott drew nicely to make two points in the fourth end and, after that, she added another two points, again with a nice draw, in the eighth end for a 4-3 lead on her way to her 6-4 victory.
On discovering her team had finished in second position in the rankings, Ott said, “that’s good news. Just that we qualified for the playoff is great. I’ve never been in second. In Vernon [2008 World Championship] we were in the 3 v 4 Page but never in second. I was paying attention to the other games a little bit. We knew that if the US team were going to win they would be in the tie-breaker, so you follow the other game a little bit but you need to stay focused on your sheet. Russia played really well. It was a good game”.
Beside them, European champions Scotland had a bitter-sweet win over hosts Canada. They knew they were already out of the medal reckoning before they came onto the ice but produced one of their performances of the week nonetheless. Skip Eve Muirhead produced a precision double raised take-out to score three in the seventh end for an 8-3 lead, and put her 9-3 victory beyond doubt.
Afterwards, Canadian skip Heather Nedohin brushed off what was her second loss of the day. “I wouldn’t be concerned at all” she said, asking, “have you ever seen the hungry Canadians? We’re feisty, we’ll be back tomorrow”.
When they came onto the ice to face Denmark, USA knew that they had to win – and at least one other result had to go their way - if their medal campaign was to stay alive.
In a strong performance, USA skip Allison Pottinger hit for two points in the fourth end and then, in the sixth end, had another hit to score three and set up her eventual 8-5 win. The Scottish win helped her to get the reward of a tie-breaker game against Canada. Afterwards, she said, "We’ve had a lot of games and a lot of rocks to get here, but we're very happy to be here [in the tie-breaker]."
In the fourth game of the session, Germany beat China by 6-5.
The up-shot of all this is that Sweden, ranked first, will play Switzerland in the Page 1 v 2 Play-off, with the winner going direct to the final and the loser having a second chance to get there by way of curling’s sole semi-final. For the Page 3 v 4 Play-off, Korea await the winner of the Canada/USA tie-breaker, who will be ranked fourth. The winner of that Play-off game proceeds to the semi-final, while the loser will play the eventual semi-final losers for bronze medals.
Session 17: Switzerland 6, Russia 4; Canada 3, Scotland 9; China 5, Germany 6; USA 8, Denmark 5.
Standings after 17 Draws/Sessions (end of Round Robin)
1. Sweden 8-3
2. Switzerland 8-3
3. Korea 8-3
4= Canada 7-4
4= USA 7-4
6. Scotland 6-5
7. Germany 5-6
8. Denmark 5-6
9. Russia 4-7
10. Italy 3-8
11. China 3-8
12. Czech Republic 2-9
Tie-breaker: Canada v USA
Page 1 v 2 Play-off: Sweden v Switzerland
Page 3 v 4 Play-off: Korea v tie-break winner
FRIDAY, 23rd MARCH
Tie-Breaker: Canada v USA (14:00 local)
Play-Off Game 1v2: Sweden v Switzerland (19:00 local)
SATURDAY, 24th MARCH
Play-Off Game 3v4: Korea v winner of tie-breaker (13:00 local)
Semi-Final: Loser of Play-Off Game 1v2 Vs Winner of Play-Off Game 3v4 (18:00 local)
SUNDAY, 25th MARCH
Bronze Medal Game: Loser of Play Off 3v4 Vs Loser of Semi-Final (09:00 local)
Gold Medal Game: Winner of Semi-Final Vs Winner of Play Off 1 v 2 (16:30 local)