15 January 2019

Jonkoping - the key battles

The countdown is on for leg three and we take a look at six intriguing head-to-heads to keep an eye on

As we approach the final stop in the inaugural Curling World Cup before May’s Grand Final in Beijing, we take a look at some of the juiciest head-to-head encounters taking place at the Jonkoping Curling Club at the end of this month.

Women’s - Sweden v Russia

Team Anna Hasselborg v Team Anna Sidorova

Head-to-head record: 9-8 Sidorova

This rivalry dates back to their junior days, where they first played at the 2010 World Junior Curling Championships in Switzerland. Team Hasselborg claimed the gold medal although Anna Sidorova did skip her team to a win over the Swedish rink in the round-robin stage.

Although Team Sidorova have a slight edge in the career head-to-head record, Team Hasselborg have won the last five meetings.

Olympic and European champions Team Hasselborg reached the final of leg one in Suzhou before being beaten 7-3 by Canada’s Team Rachel Homan. Team Sidorova also competed in leg one, finishing second in their group behind Team Homan, and have since won the Karuizawa International in Japan.

Men’s - Switzerland v United States

Team Yannick Schwaller v Team Mark Fenner

Head-to-head record: 0-0

The young rinks have yet to play on the senior circuit but have history in the juniors, going up against each other at the 2016 World Junior Curling Championships, when United States got the upper hand, winning 9-3.

The Swiss rink picked up two wins in Omaha, defeating Japan’s Team Matsumura and Norway’s Team Ulsrud at the Ralston Arena.

Team Mark Fenner’s fourth, Korey Dropkin, made the mixed doubles final in Suzhou alongside partner Sarah Anderson but were defeated by Canada’s Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres.

Mixed doubles - United States v Norway

Becca and Matt Hamilton v Kristin Skaslien and Thomas Ulsrud

Head-to-head record: 0-0

This will be the first time the legendary Thomas Ulsrud will compete in mixed doubles and he will join Omaha winner Kristin Skaslien, who also featured in Suzhou.

Becca Hamilton competed with Team Nina Roth in Curling World Cup leg one in Suzhou, while her brother, Matt, won leg two as second for Team John Shuster.

As well as all four players possessing Curling World Cup experience, the quartet also competed at the PyeongChang Olympics just under a year ago.

Mixed doubles – Sweden v Canada

Camilla and Per Noreen v Colton Lott and Kadriana Sahaidak

Head-to-head record: 0-0

Married couple Camilla and Per Noreen will go up against the young couple Colton Lott and Kadriana Sahaidak. The pairs know one another well but it will be the first time the two teams play each other.

The Noreens secured their Curling World Cup spot with victories over the likes of Anette Norberg, Mats Wranaa and Therese Westman in a specially-arranged qualifying event.

Lott and Sahaidak were runners-up at the 2018 Canadian National Championships to Walker and Muyres.

Women’s - Japan v United States

Team Tori Koana v Team Cory Christensen

Head-to-head record: 2-0 Christensen

Team Cory Christensen got the better of Team Tori Koana in successive years at the Canad Inn’s Curling Classic (2017 and 2018), winning 7-5 and 6-4.

Koana’s rink have represented Japan before at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship 2018, winning five matches.

Team Christensen won a silver medal at the 2016 World Junior Curling Championships in Copenhagen and the skip finished as runner-up alongside John Shuster to the Hamilton siblings for a mixed doubles spot in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Men’s - Sweden v Japan

Team Niklas Edin v Team Masaki Iwai

Head-to-head record: 1-0 Edin

Niklas Edin’s world champions have played Japan’s Team Iwai just the once before at the 361˚ World Men’s Curling Championship 2018, where they won 7-3 in Las Vegas.

The Swedes go into their home leg as the world’s number one rink but have picked up just the one tournament win this season – the Swiss Cup Basel in October 2018.

Team Iwai lost all six games of their games in leg one in Suzhou, but a chance to play the world champions twice on their home ice will be one of the biggest tests of their career to date.

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