Russia snatch shoot-out victory in epic opening mixed doubles draw
A nail-biting session of mixed doubles action in Beijing took place on day one.
Russian duo Maria Komarova and Daniil Goriachev produced an epic comeback to stun 2017 world champions Jenny Perret and Martin Rios in the opening mixed doubles draw.
In true mixed doubles fashion, Komarova and Goriachev fought back from the brink more than once – scoring four in the sixth end before recording a deuce in the final end to make it 7-7 and force the event’s first shoot-out, where they were triumphant with their draw shot.
Michele Jaeggi and Sven Michel were unable to register a victory for Switerland either, as they fell 8-5 to United States’ Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin.
The American pair were in excellent form throughout, beginning with three in the opening leg before claiming a pivotal steal of one in the sixth end.
“It’s an amazing start,” said a buoyant Dropkin. “I’ve never been to Beijing before, and they have absolutely beautiful facilities here. It's nice to be back on the ice and play the Grand Final here.
“It’s completely natural [to be back playing with Sarah]. We’ve got a lot of history as great friends, and we have good communication between two of us, so we get to have fun and hope to make as many shots as we can.
“We’re here to win. Obviously we want to have fun and play our best. We’ve got our first win, now it’s time for the second.”
Elsewhere on day one in Beijing, there were victories for winners of leg one and two, Canada’s Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres and Norway’s Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten respectively.
Walker and Muyres picked up where they left off in China – after their win in Suzhou – as they defeated China’s Cao Chang, Yuan Mingjie 7-3 with an end to spare.
Muyres said: “It’s so cool to be here. It’s amazing to travel overseas for curling and to get the opportunity to wear Canadian colours is again is amazing. To play in big arenas like this is why I play the game.
“Every time you can win a bit of money to pay bills and fund another tournament, it’s imperative for our growth and development. We don’t play for this kind of money anywhere else in the world so it’s really important for us to develop as a team.
Walker was similarly pleased with their performance and said of her partner: “Kirk is unwavering. He is the same person no matter what out there by being super supportive.
“He’s positive and never changes whatever the circumstances are. He is a big game player and a huge bounce back player to bail us out of trouble again and again.”
Omaha winners Skaslien and Nedregotten were made to work hard for their win against fellow Curling World Cup leg winners in Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott of Canada.
The Norwegian pair prevailed though, clinching one point in the eighth and final end to ensure a perfect start for the Olympic bronze medal-winning couple.