The opening women’s session at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 featured eight of the ten teams making their Ice Cube debut.
In the first game of the morning, defending Olympic champions, Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg, faced reigning bronze medallists, Japan’s Fujisawa Satsuki.
In the fifth end, Hasselborg showed confidence in her sweepers and draw weight when she made a perfect draw to the button against three counters for one point and to make the score 3-2 in Japan’s favour.
The roles reversed in the sixth end when Japan’s Fujisawa faced a tricky draw against four.
The stone didn’t curl enough and resulted in a steal of three for the Swedes and they took a 5-3 lead.
In the seventh, after a perfect corner freeze by Hasselborg to limit any possibility of a multiple score for Japan, skip Fujisawa was forced to take a single on a hit-and-stay to make the score 5-4.
In the eighth end, Hasselborg played a short runback to score three points and go up, 8-4.
The Japanese had a chance to score four and tie the game after a missed Swedish hit in the ninth end, but Fujisawa’s final hit hung wide and they only scored one to make the score 8-5.
“I actually liked the way I threw it,” said Hasselborg. “We just took too much ice and it’s one of those things. It’s a first game of the championship and you gotta learn the ice and figure it out.”
Overall, the Olympic champion was pleased with their opening appearance, “I really enjoyed the ice, I think we missed a couple of shots but we learned from them and it’s way better to go out with a win and learn from a win than learn from a loss. It was a great battle and great patience.”
Denmark v China
The scores were tied at 3-3 after five. After a blanked sixth end, the Danes capitalised on a missed take-out attempt by China and had a draw to the eight-foot for three points to take a 6-3 advantage after seven ends.
In the ninth end, Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont was slightly heavy with her final draw and gave the hosts a steal of two to tie the game 6-6 heading into the final end.
The Chinese continued to put the pressure on Denmark, stone after stone in the tenth end. Facing a pile of yellow stones, Dupont decided to play a draw to the button through a small port.
The game looked to be soon over in China’s favour but with incredible stone management by the Danes, it resulted in a perfectly played draw to the button to secure the winning point, 7-6.
“The last shot — I didn’t think it was there!” said Dupont. “You know sometimes I’m wrong, and it’s good to be wrong.”
“I think we’re prepared the best possible way we could and I think we showed that throughout the whole game.”
“The feeling is just phenomenal, you cannot have a better start than this!”
ROC v United States
The Americans came out strong against ROC, leading 6-1 after five ends of play.
In the seventh end, ROC had to decide whether to go for a steal, or risk conceding a multiple score.
They opted to draw around an American stone top twelve. ROC skip Alina Kovaleva made the draw to the tee-line perfectly and forced United States’ skip Tabitha Peterson to play a short runback.
She executed it without fail and secured three points. ROC then shook hands, with the final score, 9-3.
Great Britain v Switzerland
Great Britain and reigning world champions Switzerland went all the way to an extra end. In a cluttered tenth end, Switzerland’s fourth stone thrower Alina Paetz tried to squeeze out an opponent stone from the button but it didn’t go far enough and resulted in a single point.
With the last-stone advantage in the eleventh end, Great Britain’s Eve Muirhead did her best to keep the front open.
Despite this, she left herself with a draw to the full button on her final shot.
With a slight over sweep by the Britons, Muirhead’s draw slid too far, giving the Swiss a stolen point for a 6-5 victory.
Women’s Session One results: Great Britain 5-6 Switzerland; Denmark 7-6 China; Sweden 8-5 Japan; ROC 3-9 United States