Swedes shine as women get Suzhou show started
Hasselborg start with swift win but it's tense for Homan and Roth
Olympic champions Sweden were comfortable 6-3 winners over hosts China in the opening women’s session of the Curling World Cup in Suzhou, while there were tense victories for Canada and the United States.
Skip Anna Hasselborg completed a simple hit-and-stick for three in the second end to give Sweden a commanding lead from which the hosts, 5-1 down at halfway, never recovered.
Swedish third Sarah McManus reflected: "We knew since practice that the ice was pretty tricky, so we said to ourselves to make it simple and make more shots than the other team. We tried to learn from every stone, so for every shot we had really good communication."
Next door on Sheet B, Team Muirhead, skipped in Eve’s absence by Jennifer Dodds, started with a 6-5 win over Japan which was more straightforward than the scoreline suggests.
With two ends remaining, the Scots were 6-2 up but Japan’s three points in the last two ends were not sufficient to prevent an opening defeat.
"I was a wee bit nervous going on the ice," said Dodds. "I’ve not skipped in a while. We were so composed, just had a laugh out there and it was a lot of fun."
On the new time rules, she commented: "You have to watch your time, that will be key. That was different – you can’t have too long discussions."
Team Homan’s tussle with Team Sidorova always looked likely to be tight and so it proved. The Canadians were down one with the hammer going into the final end and a one-stone shootout looked in prospect.
However, Homan’s raised tap for two brought them a 6-5 win and an ideal start to their Pool B campaign.
This was Canada's first competitive outing under returning coach Marcel Rocque, who has spent the last two years working in China but is now back in charge of Team Homan.
First Lisa Weagle said: "We were on the ice in August training and we’ve had two team training camps together with our coach Marcel Roque. Those are really good to get us prepared for this event. Marcel is such an accomplished player and coach. We worked with him a few years ago so we’re really excited to have him back."
There was further drama on Sheet D where Korea’s Team Kim were one down but had the hammer in the final end against the United States. But the States’ one stone nearest the button was well protected going into the final stone and they stole one to win 8-6.
Although naturally disappointed with defeat, Korean vice-skip Hyerin Kim said she was "super excited" to be in Suzhou and said the weight of the ice was "a little slow", something they will have to adjust to in their remaining five matches.