Six of the best match-ups in Beijing
The head-to-heads should you keep an eye out for in the Grand Final.
As the inaugural Curling World Cup season comes to an end, we take a look at some of the battles which whet the appetite ahead of their Grand Final meetings at the Shougang Arena in Beijing.
Women’s - Japan v Canada
Team Satsuki Fujisawa v Team Jennifer Jones
Head-to-head record: 3-2 Jones
· Both of Team Fujisawa’s victories have come this season – the Boost National and Canadian Open - but Team Jones, the 2014 Olympic gold medallists, still lead 3-2 in the head-to-head standings.
· The Canadian quartet – who have drafted in Shannon Birchard and Jill Officer for the Grand Final – will make their Curling World Cup debut in Beijing.
Men’s - Sweden v United States
Team Niklas Edin v Team John Shuster
Head-to-head record: 10-9 Shuster
· Not many teams have the upper hand on Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin, but Team John Shuster are an exception. The two foursomes have met twice in major finals – the Olympic Games and leg three's final – with the Americans prevailing on both occasions.
· The Swedish quartet head to Beijing after recently being crowned world champions for the fourth time but remain without a Curling World Cup crown. Will Beijing be their time?
· Team Shuster were terrific on home ice last December in Omaha and will look to draw on their big-match experience as they chase the inaugural Grand Final title.
Mixed doubles – United States v Switzerland
Sarah Anderson/Korey Dropkin v Jenny Perret/Martin Rios
Head-to-head record: 3-0 Anderson/Dropkin
· All three of the teams’ meetings have taken place this season, with the most recent coming at the Qualico Mixed Doubles Classic in January.
· Anderson and Dropkin reached the final in Suzhou after going through the group stage unbeaten but fell at the last hurdle to Canada’s Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres.
· Like the American pair, Perret and Rios have also reached a Curling World Cup final this season – in Omaha – but were unable to defeat Norway’s Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten on that occasion.
Women’s - Sweden v Switzerland
Team Anna Hasselborg v Team Silvana Tirinzoni
Head-to-head record: 18-15 Tirinzoni
· This is a rivalry which began 12 years ago in Team Tirinzoni’s backyard, the Women’s Masters Basel, and the two quartets have battled it out on the ice 32 times since.
· The two teams have a major triumph apiece this season against each other: Team Hasselborg captured their maiden Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championship by defeating the Swiss unit 5-4 in the final, while Team Tirinzoni defeated the Olympic champions 8-7 in the LGT World Women’s Curling Championship after an extra end.
· Team Hasselborg have reached two Curling World Cup finals (Suzhou & Jonkoping), while this will be Team Tirinzoni's debut at the competition.
Men’s - Canada v Norway
Team Kevin Koe v Team Thomas Ulsrud
Head-to-head record: 11-5 Koe
· Two former world champions are set for a reunion in Group B as Canada’s Team Kevin Koe face Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud twice in the round-robin stage.
· The two world-class foursomes last met at the 2018 Winter Olympics, when the Canadians came out on top, winning 7-4.
· However, the legendary Norweigan outfit will have good memories facing Koe’s rink in Beijing, defeating them twice on their way to being crowned world champions in 2014.
Mixed doubles – Canada v Russia
Kadriana Sahaidak/Colton Lott v Maria Komarova/Daniil Goriachev
Head-to-head record: Not played before
· The young guns are set for action as they face off for the very first time in Beijing, with plenty expected from the pairings in seasons to follow.
· Sahaidak and Lott’s stunning win in Jonkoping was something to behold and the Manitobans will aim to replicate their success in the Grand Final.
· The Russian duo will look to recapture the form which saw them claim silver at the World Mixed Doubles Championship in 2018 when they take to the ice in China.