Canada’s Jones to face American Sinclair, Sweden’s Hasselborg wins early semi

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg earned a berth in the gold-medal game at the world women’s curling championship on Saturday with a 7-6 victory over Russia’s Victoria Moiseeva.

Hasselborg, who won Olympic gold last month at the Pyeongchang Games, will play the winner of the evening semifinal between Canada’s Jennifer Jones and American Jamie Sinclair.

Jones earned the top seed in the six-team playoff by posting a 12-0 round-robin record at the North Bay Memorial Gardens.

Sinclair reached the semifinal by topping South Korea’s EunJung Kim 10-3 in a qualification game Saturday morning. The Americans scored seven points in the ninth end to eliminate the Olympic silver medallists.

Moiseeva beat Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic 7-3 in the other qualification game.

In the semifinal, Hasselborg opened with a deuce and was in control of the game despite the close scoreline.

The Swedish skip stole a pair in the sixth end and nailed a hit and roll for two points in the eighth. Up by two and with hammer coming home, she sealed the victory with a takeout in the 10th end.

“We took it to (them) and I think we just kept on going for that lead and we controlled the scoreboard,” Hasselborg said. “I’m very happy with the team’s performance.”

Jones defeated Sinclair 8-5 on Friday night to close out a perfect round-robin. The Winnipeg skip will have choice of hammer or stones in the playoffs.

Sinclair, a dual citizen, grew up in Manotick, Ont., and has been based in the United States for the last quadrennial. She earned the No. 6 seed with a 6-6 round-robin record.

The medal games were scheduled for Sunday. Russia will play the Canada-U.S. loser for bronze in the morning and the final was scheduled for the afternoon.

Jones, who defeated Hasselborg 8-4 in round-robin play, is making her sixth career world championship appearance. The 2014 Olympic champ won her lone world title in 2008.

Three of the four members of the Sweden team were named tournament all-stars by the World Curling Federation on Saturday.

Hasselborg, third Sara McManus and lead Sofia Mabergs were honoured along with Russian second Galina Arsenkina. The all-star selections were based on shooting percentage through the round-robin stage.

Canada has won a leading 16 gold medals since the inaugural world women’s championship in 1979. Sweden is next with eight titles.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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