New Zealand men secure semi-final spot with tie-breaker win

  • Photo: WCF / Alina Pavlyuchik

New Zealand battled to a 9-4 win over Australia in Friday (13 November) afternoon's delayed men's tie-breaker game at the Pacific Asia Curling Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to complete the men's semi-final line-up.

This game – and the final women's round-robin session – were originally scheduled for Friday morning, but an overnight electrical surge in the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace made the ice unplayable, and it was only when the playing surface was usable again that the games went ahead.

It was worth the wait for New Zealand as, after a tricky start, they scored three points in each of the third and ninth ends on their way to their, 9-4, victory and a semi-final show-down against table-toppers Japan.

Defending champions China will face Korea in the other semi-final, with the winners of both these games qualifying for the World Men's Championship in Basel, Switzerland next (2-10) April. These games take place this evening at 19.00 (local time).

They Said It:

Peter de Boer; skip, New Zealand (after 9-4 tie-break win against Australia):

"We had a dodgy second end and we looked like losing three, but we drew for a one and that was the turning point. If we get a few rubs against Japan then we'll be in business. We thought if we play solid enough we could make fourth, so we feel we're in the right spot now and we just need to knuckle in and win the next one."

In the same session, Japan's women beat Kazakhstan by 11-2 while defending champions China had a 12-1 victory over New Zealand, both in just six ends. With Korea sitting out the session, these results tied China, Japan and Korea at the top of the table on six wins and two losses each. It then required curling's Draw Shot Challenge (DSC) to rank them and, after this team skills test, Japan emerged in top place with Korea second and China third.

Meanwhile, with one win each earlier in the week, Kazakhstan and New Zealand are tied in fourth and now require a tie-breaker to determine which of them shall take-up the final women's semi-final space. The winner of that tie-break, played at 19.00 this evening, will face Japan in one semi-final, while Korea and China will play in the other.

As a consequence of the overnight ice difficulties, these semi-finals will take place on Saturday (14
November) morning, rather than on Friday evening as originally planned. As for the men, both of the women's semi-final winners will qualify for the Ford World Women's Championship in Swift Current, Canada next (19-27) March.

They Said It:

Satsuki Fujisawa; skip, Japan (after 11-2 win over Kazakhstan):

"It's very exciting to be in the semi-final. The team's performance has improved through the week and now we've got it to a good level. It doesn't matter who we play next, the most important thing is to do our best."

Sijia Liu: skip China (after 12-1 win over New Zealand):

"We feel OK right now. We will try our best and we'll play our own rocks. Right now, we don't know who we play next and it doesn't matter, we'll just play with our own shots."

RESULTS, Session 10:

MEN

Australia 4-9 New Zealand (tie-breaker)

WOMEN

Kazakhstan 2-11 Japan; China 12-1 New Zealand.

STANDINGS after 10 Session (W - L):

MEN

Japan 6-1: qualified
China 6-1: qualified
Korea 6-1: qualified
New Zealand 3-4: qualified
Australia 3-4
Chinese Taipei 3-4
Kazakhstan 1-6
Hong Kong 0-7

WOMEN

Japan 6-2: qualified
Korea 6-2: qualified
China 6-2: qualified
Kazakhstan 1-7: tie-breaker
New Zealand 1-7: tie-breaker