Canada wins opener at mixed playdowns

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Canada’s Joanne Courtney and Reid Carruthers defeated Turkey’s Dilsat Yildiz and Alican Karatas 10-4 in their opening game Saturday at the world mixed doubles curling championship.

Canada never trailed after scoring five points in the second end. Courtney, from Edmonton, shot 80 per cent while Carruthers, from Winnipeg, shot 87 per cent.

“It’s always nice to come out of the gate with a win,” Courtney said.

The 39-team event, which continues through next Saturday, will determine which seven countries will join host South Korea next year when mixed doubles makes its Olympic debut.

Canada is a world powerhouse in men’s and women’s curling, but not in mixed doubles.

In the 10 years of world championships, one bronze medal in 2009 is the country’s best result. Russia and Hungary have twice won gold.

Courtney and Carruthers (1-0), coached by Jeff Stoughton, return to action Sunday afternoon against France’s Sandrine Morand and Romain Borini (0-1) at the ATB Centre.

“It’s like any world championship, you go there trying to win the gold medal,” Carruthers said. “There are lots of steps and goals along the way that we’re trying to accomplish. First things first is to win each end. Keep focus on one end at a time.

“If we end up winning five of the eight ends in every game, we’ll be in good shape.”

In other action Saturday, reigning world champions Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushelnitckii of Russia opened their title defence with a 9-4 victory over Spain’s Irantzu Garcia and Gontzal Garcia.

Canada’s Marliese Kasner and Dustin Kalthoff finished fifth at last year’s championship in Karlstad, Sweden.

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