9 December 2018

Norway clinch final place after nerve-shredding finale

Celine Stucki / WCF

Skaslien and Nedregotten set up mixed doubles final with Switzerland in Omaha

Norway’s Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten clinched a place in Sunday’s mixed doubles final in yet another pulse-quickening finale on day four at Omaha’s Ralston Arena.

With Switzerland’s Jenny Perret and Martin Rios having already qualified on Friday, Saturday saw a three-way battle to join them between Norway, United States’ Tabitha Peterson and Joe Polo, and China’s Wang Riu and Dexin Ba.

Inevitably, it went right down to the wire in a frantic end to session three. Peterson and Polo clawed back a 5-0 deficit to clinch an amazing 8-6 win over Russia with three in the final end. That, briefly, put them top of the group, with Norway v China into the final end on the next sheet.

It was tied 5-5 going into the final end with stones clustered tightly around the button. It all came down to Skaslien’s final shot, a nerve-shredding draw. She made it, threw a triumphant fist in the air and clinched the point Norway needed to make the final.

"It was a close game all the way,” she said. “We knew it would be a tough one because it always is against China. I thought we had control at the beginning of the eighth end but then he [Ba] did a very nice draw tap to lie on top of the four-foot there. It was a big pressure last shot. I was mentally prepared for that.

"It's always fun to win - that's what drives you to go on year after year - I'm starting to get old!"

On Sunday's final against Olympic silver medallists Switzerland, she added: "We just have to be precise, have to do our best and that will make it a close game. Hopefully we will be the winners in the end."

Celine Stucki / WCF

Switzerland’s Jenny Perret and Martin Rios had earlier made it a clean sweep in Group A. Their place in the final was already confirmed, but they ensured no loss of momentum by beating Sweden’s Malin Wendel and Fabian Wingfors 6-5.

The Olympic silver medallists have looked imperious all week, winning six out of six and dropping only one point courtesy of their opening-day victory over Canada via a one-stone shoot-out.

The other second-session game saw Canada’s temporary pairing of Kalynn Park and double Olympic champion John Morris finish a frustrating week on a high note by beating Korea 8-6.

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