Quarter-finals Roundup

Canada progressed to the semi-finals after defeating USA Photo: WCF/Alina Pauliuchyk

After their quarter-final wins on Friday evening, Canada, Hungary, Sweden and Norway have advanced to the semi-finals at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2015 being held in the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia.

Following the conclusion of the quarter-finals, the semi-final draw was confirmed. Canada will play Sweden while Norway will play Hungary, both at 10:30 on Saturday morning.

The winners of the semi-finals will then play off for the gold medals and championship title, while the losers go head to head for the bronze medals, both later in the afternoon at 15:30.

In the quarter-finals, North American neighbours USA and Canada played out a close game on sheet A, with the teams tied 5-5 at the fourth end break.

It was however Canada’s Kalynn Park and Charley Thomas who progressed to the semi-finals, scoring three crucial points in the fifth end on their way to a 9-6 win.

Afterwards, Canada’s Park said: "It’s great to reach the semi-finals. I can definitely improve though, but Charley played really well. I just struggled with the draw weight a little bit at the end there so I need to pick that up, but other than that everything else was great. The key to winning tonight was definitely just staying calm and taking the chances when we got them. They didn’t give us much so just really capitalising when they did get those misses, that was the difference for sure."

On the next sheet, hosts Russia, backed by a large local crowd, came up against 2013 World Mixed Doubles champions Dorottya Palancsa and Zsolt Kiss.

Hungary took the first big advantage as they scored three points in the fourth end to lead 5-3 by the fourth end break.

This was a lead Hungary would not lose as they went on to win 10-4 and knock the hosts out of the competition, Russia’s first loss of the Championship.

Afterwards, Hungary's Zsolt Kiss said: "This 10-4 win might look an easy win, but it was a very difficult game. Our strategy, forcing them to play take-outs, led to our success. We were in a very good position in most ends, maybe except for the first end, and in the last one they could have scored four - I was actually a bit nervous because of that, but luckily we came out of the game with a win."

The Estonia versus Sweden quarter-final was the first to finish as two time World Mixed Doubles silver medallists (2012 and 2014) from Sweden, Camilla Johansson and Per Noreen, won 8-3 after seven ends of play.

Following their win, Sweden coach Mikael Andersson said: “It feels terrific to have won. We didn't play well in the middle of the competition, I mean game five or six wasn’t good, so we had some good discussions and it improved from there. We played really well the last two games so we can go into the semi-finals feeling good.”

The fourth quarter-final saw Norway and Denmark go head to head in what turned out to be a tight game.

Previously unbeaten Norway, which included Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten, stole one point in both of the last two ends to win the game by two points, 6-4.

This is the second time this Norwegian team has qualified for the semi-finals after finishing fourth at this Championship in Fredericton, Canada in 2013.

After coming off the ice, Norway’s Nedregotten said: “The key to winning tonight was just to keep calm actually, and make the important shots because we were in trouble a lot of times.”

Earlier in the day, tie-breakers resolved the remaining positions in two of the groups, before the quarter-final qualification game confirmed the quarter-final schedule.

Denmark won their tie-breaker 6-4 against Japan to finish third in Group A.

Group B meanwhile had two tie-breakers to decide who finished second and third. In this group, Sweden won their tie-breaker 7-6 against Finland, while Italy defeated Latvia 9-7.

Since Sweden defeated Italy in the round robin, they finished in second position and automatically qualified for the quarter-finals, while Italy finished in third place in the group.

Looking at all three third placed teams (Denmark, Italy and Hungary) Draw Shot Challenge results, Hungary had the best and therefore qualified directly for the quarter-finals.

That left Italy and Denmark to play out the quarter-final qualification game, which Denmark won 8-4.

After this game, Denmark’s Oliver Dupont said: “Reaching the quarter-finals was definitely our goal for this week, so this is great to win. We kind of took a detour but we made it so we are happy.”

SCHEDULE (all times local - MSK)
Saturday 25 April 2015

Semi-finals (10:30):
Canada v Sweden; Norway v Hungary
Gold medal game (15:30): TBC
Bronze medal game (15:30): TBC

RESULTS
Tie-breakers
Group A:
Denmark 6, Japan 4
Group B: Italy 9, Latvia 7; Finland 6, Sweden 7.

Quarter-final qualification game: Italy 4, Denmark 8

Quarter-finals: USA 6, Canada 9; Russia 4, Hungary 10; Estonia 3, Sweden 8; Norway 6, Denmark 4.

A decision on whether or not Mixed Doubles Curling will become part of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games programme is expected to be made at the International Olympic Committee Executive Board meeting scheduled for June in Lausanne, Switzerland.

A full round-up of the daily action from the World Senior Curling Championship 2015, also taking place in Sochi, will be available following the conclusion of the day’s games on the event website: http://wscc2015.worldcurling.net

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