Brilliant Norway first to reach gold-medal game
Walker/Muyres close to joining the pair in the final
Omaha leg winners Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten became the first team to reach Sunday’s championship game after they emphatically beat Russia 7-1 in Beijing.
The Norwegian pair begun the day with an 8-7 defeat to Canada’s Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott 7-1 but bounced back terrifically in the evening, and in doing so, Skaslien reached her third Curling World Cup final in a row.
“It’s amazing!” said Skaslien, 33. “We didn’t perform well at the World Championship, so to do this comeback in the Grand Final is unbelievable.
“We’ve had a good couple of days, trying to be nice to each other. When we are having fun, we play so much better.
“We’re getting married in August, so the prize money will probably cover a really nice honeymoon,” joked Skaslien.
Switerland’s Michele Jaeggi and Sven Michel tasted their first victory in the Grand Final with a 10-8 win over Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin
The Swiss pair then doubled up on their win tally with a satisfying three points against Cao Chang and Yuan Mingjie of China, defeating the pair 10-1 in the evening session.
Michele Jaeggi: “It feels great. We played really good yesterday, but it didn’t work out. But today we were struggling at the beginning but eventually it clicked. After the fourth-end break it went really well and we’re pleased.
“I think the final on Sunday is almost impossible for us so we will just enjoy our curling, with it being our last event of the season and play with smiles on our faces, a lot of laughs.”
In Group A, Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres of Canada moved a step closer to Sunday’s final with double success on day three, which included a controlling 9-2 victory over China and were triumphant in a must-win encounter against North American rivals Anderson/Dropkin.
Walker, who threw the last stone to win, described the fixture as the "best mixed doubles game” they have played in a long time.
Saskatchewan-born Muyres concurred: "We’ve been in many must-win games before. You have no choice – we either win or you’re not in the final.
"We wanted to be relentless and not be denied. We knew it would be a battle because we know Korey and Sarah are two of the best in the mixed doubles game – it worked out.
"We need to win tomorrow and we need to win Sunday in the final. Laura and I always talk about this – it gets the heart pumping, you feel the nerves.
Perret/Rios continued their run from day two by beating Russia 9-8 in the morning session but faltered against Canada’s Sahaidak/Lott later on to scupper any chance of reaching the final.