8 December 2018

Dominant Swiss roll into Sunday's mixed doubles final

Celine Stucki / WCF

Perret and Rios are first team to reach finals day in Omaha

Switzerland pairing Jenny Perret and Martin Rios became the first team across all three disciplines to seal a place in Sunday’s finals on a busy day of mixed doubles at Omaha’s Ralston Arena.

The Olympic silver medallists followed a 7-4 morning session victory over Canada’s Kalynn Park and John Morris with an 8-1 triumph against Korean duo Hyeri Jang and Chiwon Choi to put themselves out of sight in Group A.

In Group B, there was a mixed day for Norway pair Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten who beat United States 6-4 in session two only to go down 8-6 to China in the evening.

They nevertheless still lead the group standings, but Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo’s dramatic one-stone shoot-out win over China – after the game ended 7-7 - means United States are only one point behind in second place, with China just a further point back and even bottom-placed Russia not out of it yet on six.

For Perret and Rios, however, results tomorrow need not concern them. Rios reflected: “It feels great. Step one is complete! I think this was our best game so far. We were struggling in the first game against Canada and the next two games we still weren’t at our best. This morning I didn’t feel comfortable either. But tonight it was great out there. I felt the weight.

“We still have to improve. We don’t want to lose focus tomorrow against Sweden. We need to win that game. We need to give all we have in the remaining two games, try our best and see what happens.”

It was a rollercoaster of a day for Norway, who beat Peterson and Polo earlier in the day, with a steal of two in the fifth end the pivotal moment. Their 8-6 defeat to Anastasia Moskaleva and Alexander Eremin was a surprise.

Skaslien and Nedregotten are a pair on and off the ice, and he revealed how the dynamic between them works while they’re away competing: “We often shout at each other! It’s the best time ever when we’re playing well and it’s very bad when we’re bad. There’s a lot of feelings! We argue a lot and we make each other better a lot too – the whole scale!”

In the morning session, Perret and Rios had made it four wins from four by seeing off Canadian duo Kaitlynn Park and John Morris.

Olympic champion Morris and his new temporary partner haven’t quite clicked yet this week and the Swiss Olympic silver medallists, after a cagey first four ends, went out of sight with two in the fifth and a steal of three in the sixth, capitalising on Canadian errors.

There was more disappointment for the Canadian pair in the day’s third session as Sweden’s Malin Wendel and Fabian Wingfors beat them 9-6 to record their first victory of the week.

Korea’s Hyeri Jang and Chiwon Choi beat Russia 6-2 earlier in the day thanks in the main to a steal for three in the sixth end. Even though their loss to Switzerland in the evening meant elimination, they can reflect on a good week.

Choi said: "We are very happy. In our group, Switzerland are very good but we try our hardest all the time."

There was a big-scoring match in Group B in which China beat Russia 11-4, sealing the deal when Eremin’s final draw was too heavy, giving the Chinese a steal of three which prompted handshakes after the sixth end.

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