Sweden beat China, by 11-7, in Group B’s seventh round-robin session, a win that not only keeps their unbeaten record intact but qualifies them for the weekend play-offs in this event. This win also earns their National Olympic Committee a place in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games mixed doubles event.
Speaking about their Olympic Qualification, Oskar Eriksson said: “That’s one of the biggest goals – to qualify Sweden for the Olympics, so goal number one is now complete.”
Sweden started strongly, scoring three points in the first end, then followed that with a further three points in the third end for a 6-1 lead.
However, China responded with three points of their own in both the fourth and sixth ends to reduce Sweden’s lead to 8-7.
Sweden then used their power play in the seventh end to score another three points to seal their win, by 11-7.
Speaking about the game, Eriksson said: “This wasn’t my best game personally, Almida [De Val] played some really good shots to keep us in the game. China played really solid, and even though we got those threes in the beginning, they played some really good shots.”
Norway within touch distance of play-off place
Norway consolidated their second place on the rankings with a 9-5 victory over Switzerland, their sixth win so far.
They opened with a score of two points in the first end and then further two-point scores in the fifth and seventh ends put them into a 7-5 lead.
In the eighth end, they had a further steal of two points when Switzerland’s take-out attempt failed, completing their win.
With only three automatic qualification places available, Switzerland are now in a tie for third place with New Zealand, who beat Japan, by 7-2, in this session and United States who lost out to England by 9-11 after an extra end.
New Zealand move into third
New Zealand had a strong start against Japan, scoring a single point in the first end, then stealing two points in the second end. A further steal of one point in the third end helped New Zealand carve out an early 4-0 lead.
Two more points in the sixth end for the Kiwis and another single-point steal in the seventh end, when Japan’s Yuta Matsumura wrecked his last effort, gave New Zealand their 7-2 win.
Afterwards, Anton Hood said: “We just came in knowing Japan are a very good team and we’d need to play our best to have a run with them. So, we’re just lucky we showed up today and played some good shots. The score didn’t show it, but it was a very tight game. Our goal was to keep New Zealand in the top sixteen.”
England steal extra-end win
England started strongly with a score of three points in the first end in their game against United States.
United States responded with three points of their own in the second end, before the teams traded two-point scores to go into the fourth end break level at 5-5.
Then, in the eighth end, England scored two points to take the game to an extra end. In that extra end, United States’ Joe Polo attempted a difficult raised tap on his own stone when facing two English counters. However, he was a touch heavy and gave up a steal of two points to give England the 11-9 win.
Finland pick up second win
In the fifth game of this session, Finland beat Estonia by 8-6, sealing their victory with a draw inside two Estonia stones for one point by Oona Kauste.
This was an important win with four teams now in a relegation battle — China, England, Finland and Estonia.
After the game, Oona Kauste said: “That was a really good game, I thought that was our best game. The target is now to not be relegated and, of course, play good games.”
Group B session seven results: Norway 9-5 Switzerland; Estonia 6-8 Finland; Sweden 11-7 China; Japan 2-7 New Zealand; United States 9-11 England.
Group B standings (W-L):
Q Sweden 7-0
New Zealand 4-3
United States 4-3
Q = Qualified for the play-offs and earned a place in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games mixed doubles event.
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