13 September 2018

Canada and United States pairs take firm grip

Perfect start for both group leaders while Rios/Perret suffer first defeat

Canada and United States established themselves as group leaders after a hectic two sessions of mixed doubles on day two of the Curling World Cup in Suzhou.

Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin earned arguably the most impressive win, conquering Olympic silver medallists Martin Rios and Jenny Perret of Switzerland 10-4. Going 5-0 up inside two ends laid a solid platform, and a further three points in the seventh killed off a mini Swiss fightback.

The United States pair, who beat China 9-2 in the morning session, are now 3-0 and lead Switzerland by three points in Group B.

Afterwards, Dropkin professed himself a big fan of the new end-by-end timing rules: “It’s a really fast paced game and you have to be quick in making decisions,” he said. “There’s a bigger consequence now if you run out of time so it makes things more challenging but it’s fun. The first leg of the inaugural Curling World Cup event, it’s pretty motivating to do our best and come home with the title.”

Defeat was a setback for Switzerland after their campaign began with two dominant wins over China yesterday and 11-1 against Korea this morning.

China got off the mark in Group B with an 11-5 win over Korea, who are now the only mixed doubles pair without a point.

In Group A, Canadian pair Laura Walker and Kirk Muyers soared into top spot, beating young Swedish duo Therese Vestman and Robin Ahlberg 8-2. Earlier in the day, they had comprehensively seen off Russia 9-1, sealing the deal in the seventh with three.

“We knew going into it that the ice conditions were a little bit tougher than we’ve seen before," said Walker. "We would love to go to Beijing, and we are wearing the maple leaf so we want to do well for our country. So win or lose we want to represent our country well and make them proud.”

Russia sit second in Group A on four points. After their morning defeat to Canada, they got a win on the board with a nerve-jangling 10-9 success against Kristin Skaslien and Sander Roelvaag of Norway.

Norway looked down and out until they scored four in the seventh end to level the scores at 9-9. Russia were left with a simple draw for the one point they needed in the final end, however.

Earlier, the Norwegians had beaten Sweden 8-4 in something of a Scandinavian derby. Scoring four in a powerplay in the sixth end ultimately proved crucial.

Skaslien commented: “This is actually our first tournament playing together so we are improving step by step. We play at the same club back home but we had never played together before although we had practised before this tournament but not that much.”

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