Groups revealed for leg three in Jonkoping
Jonkoping set to produce spectacular battles for final leg-winners' places in Beijing
Curling World Cup organisers have announced the groups for all three disciplines for leg three in Jonkoping, Sweden.
The event, which runs from 30 January – 3 February, marks the last chance for teams to secure an automatic place as leg winners in May’s Curling World Cup Grand Final in Beijing.
Competing nations are starting to name their line-ups for the event and the announcement of the groups will only increase anticipation as the Curling World Cup heads to the home of the current Olympic and world champions.
Sweden’s Olympic champions Team Anna Hasselborg will be backed by a passionate home crowd at Jonkoping Curling Club and current form suggests they are favourites in Group A.
Canada have switched line-ups and will be represented by Team Darcy Robertson, with Russia’s Team Anna Sidorova and an as-yet unnamed Chinese rink completing the group.
Team Satsuki Fujisawa were the champions in Omaha but it’s not been decided who will represent Japan in Jonkoping as yet. Whoever does have the honour will face Korea in Group B in a repeat of the Omaha women’s final.
The other two teams in Group B are United States, represented by the youthful Team Cory Christensen, and Scotland, for whom Team Eve Muirhead played in Suzhou and Omaha, but are yet to confirm for leg three.
Team Niklas Edin are bound to receive rapturous support from the home crowd as the world champions take on United States’ Team Mark Fenner, who have reached four finals in World Curling Tour events so far this season.
Switzerland and Japan are the other two teams in Group A. The winner of this weekend’s Swiss Cup in Biel will earn a place in Jonkoping, while the Japanese line-up is not yet decided.
In Group B, Norway’s Team Steffen Walstad, who reached the final in Suzhou in leg one, will be taking on Canada’s Team Matt Dunstone, who already have two World Curling Tour wins under their belt this season. Scotland and China have yet to confirm their line-ups.
It’s very simple to explain the mixed doubles groups – they are unchanged from those at leg two in Omaha.
In Group A, Switzerland’s representatives will be decided by whoever wins this weekend’s Swiss Cup in Biel. Omaha finalists and Olympic runners-up Jenny Perret and Martin Rios will hope they earn another try after their agonising loss in the Omaha final.
Sweden, whose pairing is as yet unannounced, are also in Group A along with young Canadian duo Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott, who finished second in April’s national championships, and an as-yet unknown Korean pair.
In Group B, there will be plenty of intrigue as to how Omaha winner Kristin Skaslien and legendary Thomas Ulsrud perform together. For Ulsrud, the 2014 world men’s champion, it will be his first ever try at mixed doubles on the world stage.
United States’ duo will have a familiar look to Curling World Cup fans, with siblings Becca and Matt Hamilton pairing up as they did in PyeongChang in February. Becca was part of Team Nina Roth in Suzhou and Matt was second for Omaha champs Team John Shuster.
Russia have selected Maria Komarova and Daniil Goriachev, who won two of their six group games in Suzhou. China’s pairing has not yet been named.