United States fight for play-off possibility

  • USA Vicky Persinger and Monica Walker © WCF / Jeffrey Au

With both qualifiers at the top-of-the-table - leaders Canada and second-placed Sweden - sitting out, Thursday afternoon's 16th round-robin session of the Ford World Curling Championship 2018 in North Bay, Canada gave other teams the chance to close in on play-off positions.

In this session, China, Germany, Switzerland and United States all won to improve their qualification positions, while Japan, Russia and Scotland were the other teams to sit out.

Switzerland beat Korea in a tight game that went all the way to the last stone, but Korean skip EunJung Kim's last draw was withdrawn because of a hog line violation, to give Switzerland an 8-6 win.

The game between Czech Republic and Germany went to an extra end, but Czech skip Anna Kubeskova was short with her final effort to give Germany their second win so far, by 3-2.

Denmark faced United States in this session and in the third end United States skip Jamie Sinclair opened the scoring with a draw for two points. After this the Americans had four successive single steals to win the game by 6-0.

China faced Italy in this session and in the fourth end China found themselves down by 3-1, but their skip Yilun Jiang drew her last stone of the end into the house to score three points and take a 4-3 lead. This way to a 7-5 win which means that Italy become the first team out of the play-off race.

These results mean that Korea and Russia now sit in joint third place, with United States in fifth and Czech Republic holding onto sixth, the final qualification slot. Japan are seventh while China and Switzerland share eighth place on the rankings. Below these teams Denmark, Scotland and Germany still have the arithmetic possibility of qualifying, but Italy do not.

They said it

Vicky Persinger; second, United States (after 6-0 win over Denmark): "We're feeling pretty good, we like the ice today and we shot pretty well. We need to keep this up now going into our next couple of games, which are super-important.

"We had a great draw to the button in this game which gave us some momentum and then a whole bundle of steals. If we can just keep that going for the next couple, then we'll be all set.

"We have a great fan-base here and lots of support and I know that Friday is going to be tough, out again against the Czechs and then Jones (Canada) at night. We'd obviously like to have a couple more wins at this stage but we're holding on and grinding through it. It's a long week and it's not over yet. So we'll just keep the pedal down, not take anyone too lightly and try to bring our best game as often as we can."

Yilun Jiang; skip, China (after 7-5 win over Italy):"I think every player on our team played well today and it has grown our confidence as we try to win. Yes, we are happy with our results so far. This is our first time at the world championship, so I think our new team has to learn more all the time.

"For now, we are just focussed on our present games but hope we can improve to a higher level."

Irene Schori; third, Switzerland (after 8-6 win over Korea): "We are happy with this - every win is great! It's unlucky for them though. We knew it would be a difficult game because they always freeze and tap, so we tried to do that also in the first end. We knew it would be a tough nine ends, it was difficult. We thought we had a chance to steal in the last end, we were lying two and she had to draw to the four-foot."

Results after session 16: China 7-5 Italy; Denmark 0-6; Germany 3-2 Czech Republic; Switzerland 8-6 Korea

Standings after session 16

Q Canada 9-0
Q Sweden 9-1
Korea 6-3
Russia 6-3
United States 5-4
Czech Republic 5-5
Japan 4-5
China 4-6
Switzerland 4-6
Denmark 3-7
Scotland 3-7
Germany 2-7
Italy 2-8

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