With joint leaders United States given a bye for Monday morning’s fifth Mixed Doubles session of the OQE2021, Korea took over first place, beating Japan 7-4 to sit undefeated at the top of Group B.
Other winners in this session were Finland, who beat New Zealand, 8-5 and Latvia, whose 9-8 extra-end win over Estonia gave them their first victory.
In the opening end of their game against Japan, Korea’s Kim Minji played a double take-out for two points. Japan made a key draw against multiple points in the second end and in the third, Kim’s hit rolled out, handing Japan a steal of two and a 3-2 lead.
After the break, Japan’s Matsumura Chiaki could not find a way to remove counting Korean stones in the fifth end, and, with a steal of two points, Korea took a 5-3 lead. Japan could only score one in the sixth end when Matsumura’s draw was short to keep Korea in the lead, at 5-4. Korea then scored one in the seventh end and had a single-point steal in the eighth to finish off their 7-4 win, and stand alone at the top of the rankings.
Against New Zealand, Finland opened with a score of three in the first end. Finland followed that up with another score of three in the third end when Oona Kauste drew her final stone into position, to take an early 6-1 lead.
New Zealand scored another single point in the fourth to reduce Finland’s lead to 6-2 at the break. Then, in the sixth end, New Zealand’s Mhairi-Bronte Duncan tapped out a Finnish stone to score three and reduce Finland’s lead to 7-5.
But a score of one in the seventh with a draw by Oona Kauste inside three New Zealand counters saw the Finns increase their lead to 8-5. New Zealand then ran out of stones in the eighth end and Finland moved into third on the rankings in Group B, with two wins and one loss.
Afterwards, Oona Kauste said, “Winning is always fun, so it absolutely feels good!”
Her brother Aku added, “That was better than yesterday. We had a good start today and we were more comfortable with the rocks. The ice is getting better, we still wish we had more curl, but it’s getting a little bit better.” He went on, “We absolutely needed to win that one. If we lost that one, then things would start to look really difficult. That’s an important win and all the games matter. You can’t lose many.”
With a score of three points in the fourth end, Estonia took a 4-3 lead into the break in their game against Latvia, but Latvia responded with a score of three of their own in the fifth, to re-take the lead at 6-4. Estonia’s Marie Kaldvee then had a draw for two into an empty house in the sixth to tie the game at 6-6.
In the eighth end, Estonia’s Harri Lill played a hit to score two points and level the game at 8-8, to force the first extra end of the event so far. In that end, Estonia’s last hit rolled too far and Latvia had the one point needed for the 9-8 victory that gives them their first win so far.
Afterwards, Latvia’s Arnis Veidemanis confirmed, “That was our first win. We played better than yesterday, and now we just need to play at that level – or better – this evening, and in future games.”
Session five results: New Zealand 5-8 Finland; Estonia 8-9 Latvia; Japan 4-7 Korea
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