Canada secures top spot at women’s world curling

Canada secures top spot at women’s world curling

BEIJING — Canada’s Rachel Homan kept her unbeaten streak intact at the world women’s curling championship on Wednesday, locking up first place in the round-robin standings in the process.

Homan (9-0) posted a 6-4 win over Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg in the afternoon draw before topping Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic 9-3.

“We just keep our heads down, we work hard, and at the end of the week to be in this spot, it feels great,” said Canada second Joanne Courtney. “But we still have a lot more work to do.”

By clinching top spot, Homan, Courtney, vice-skip Emma Miskew and lead Lisa Weagle will carry last-rock advantage in the first end of the Page playoff 1-2 game on Friday night at the Capital Gymnasium.

Canada will close out round-robin play Thursday with tune-up games against Italy’s Diana Gaspari and Denmark’s Lene Nielsen.

“It feels pretty good, it’s such a long week and it’s nice to know now that we’ve got first place, we’ve got hammer, which we love,” Miskew said. “It’s a long round-robin and we’re pretty excited to know that we’re in that position.”

Sweden rebounded after the Canada loss with a 6-5 win over South Korea’s Eun Jung Kim to sit in second place at 7-2. Russia’s Anna Sidorova was third at 6-3 after an 8-6 victory over American Nina Roth.

Germany’s Daniela Jentsch, Scotland’s Eve Muirhead and Switzerland’s Alina Paetz were tied at 5-4 after 14 draws. The Czech Republic, South Korea and the United States were at 4-5.

Italy followed at 3-6, China’s Bingyu Wang was 2-7 and Denmark remained winless at 0-9.

In the afternoon game, Homan made an open draw for two in the second end after Hasselborg rubbed a guard on a takeout attempt. The draw was set up by Miskew’s raise double takeout that erased a steal threat.

Sweden tied it up in the fourth end and Canada replied with a deuce in the fifth as Homan made a draw after Hasselborg rolled too far on a hit attempt. Sweden was forced to a single in the sixth and Canada put it away with a pair in the eighth end.

Homan maintained her momentum against the Czechs. The Canadian rink was in control after deuces in the first and fourth ends and a steal of two in the fifth.

If tiebreaker games are needed, they will be played Friday afternoon. The winner of the 1-2 game will advance to Sunday’s gold-medal game while the loser will play in the semifinal Saturday night.

The Page 3-4 game is set for Saturday afternoon. The winner will advance to the semifinal and the loser will play for bronze on Sunday.

The semifinal winner will play the 1-2 game winner for gold. The semifinal loser falls into the bronze-medal game.

Switzerland has won four of the last five women’s world titles. Canada hasn’t won gold since Jennifer Jones was victorious in 2008.

Only two teams have gone unbeaten in round-robin play at this event. Canada’s Colleen Jones did it in 2003 before settling for the silver medal and Sweden’s Anette Norberg did it in 2005 before winning gold.

The Canadian Press