Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling championship Saturday after dropping an 8-3 decision to Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg.

Sweden did not let Canada generate much offence, regularly forcing the Einarson side to settle for singles.

Hasselborg, the reigning Olympic champion, was in top form. She drew for a deuce in the seventh for a four-point lead and made a brilliant runback double-takeout in the eighth end.

When Einarson gave up a steal of one, Canada conceded the game.

“I had a really good feeling going into the game,” Einarson said. “We just got behind the eight ball a little early and just needed something to bail ourselves out.

“We just weren’t as sharp as we have been.”

It’s the first time that Canada has been held off the podium at both the women’s and men’s world championships in the same season.

Canada did not make it to the semifinals in either event. Brendan Bottcher’s Alberta-based team was also eliminated in the qualification game at last month’s world men’s playdowns.

All four members of the Hasselborg team threw at least 91 per cent. Sweden advanced to play Russia’s Alina Kovaleva in the evening semifinal.

“The girls played really, really well today and they judged weight perfectly,” Hasselborg said. “We communicated well, so really a solid game. We had lots of fun so it was really amazing.”

American Tabitha Peterson drew the button for an 8-7 victory over Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont in the other qualification game.

The U.S. will meet top-seeded Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland in the afternoon semifinal. Medal games are scheduled for Sunday at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre.

Hasselborg made a hit for a deuce in the third end and kept the pressure on when Canada had hammer. Einarson simply couldn’t put ends together the way she wanted and had difficulty seizing control.

“We struggled a bit early and then they just ran away and made everything after that,” said Canada third Val Sweeting.

The Manitoba-based team, which also includes Shannon Birchard and Briane Meilleur, struggled mightily over the first half of round-robin play. They dropped five of their first six games before getting back on track and taking the sixth and final playoff spot at 7-6.

Sweden earned the third seed with a 10-3 round-robin record.

The top six teams in the 14-team field also earned Olympic berths for their countries at the 2022 Beijing Games. South Korea, Scotland, Germany and Japan were some of the notable teams that didn’t make the cut and will have to try again at a last-chance Olympic qualifier in December.

Television and streaming coverage was shut down for five days of round-robin play after seven members of the event’s broadcast team tested positive for COVID-19. Coverage resumed Friday after a modified broadcast plan proposal was approved by Alberta Health.

Tirinzoni won the 2019 women’s world championship in Silkeborg, Denmark. The 2020 competition was cancelled at the 11th hour due to the pandemic.

Canada’s last podium appearance at this event came in 2018 at North Bay, Ont., when Jennifer Jones beat Hasselborg in the final.

Einarson won the Canadian women’s team title for the second straight year last February in the first of seven competitions in the curling bubble at Canada Olympic Park.

The skip also won a Canadian mixed doubles title with Brad Gushue and guided her four-player team to a Grand Slam title last month.

Einarson and Gushue will represent Canada at the May 17-23 world mixed doubles championship in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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