April 14, 2013, Fredericton, Canada (ISN) – Switzerland’s Nadine Lehmann and Martin Rios started off their World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship title defence with a win in the first day of Round-Robin play in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
A score of three points in the fourth end proved to be the catalyst for Switzerland’s victory over Korea, as they then stole a further seven points in the next three ends to seal their 11-2 win within seven ends.
Switzerland are in Group A, along with Hungary who record an impressive 14-1 over Spain thanks largely to scores of four points in the first end and then a steal of four points in the second end.
China played out a close encounter with Russia elsewhere in the group, with the Pacific-Asia team leading 6-4 going into the seventh end. But as is seen all too often in Mixed Doubles curling, one end turned the game on its head as Russia picked up four points in the seventh end before stealing a single point in the eighth end to seal their 9-6 victory.
The final Group A game saw hosts Canada pull off a comfortable win over Italy. Canada’s Robert Desjardins made a double takeout in the first end to remove a frozen Italian stone on the button, setting up an open draw for four points for his team mate Isabelle Néron. This score gave them the comfort and confidence to close out this game which they won by 7-4.
Group A Player Reaction:
Switzerland’s Martin Rios, describing the pressure of coming into this championship as the defending champions, said: “It’s a new tournament – the world championship last year was nice but it’s in the past. We even had to practice early in the morning so there’s no bonus for being the champion last year. We know we have to battle every game. We’re trying to bring our best game in every game, as we did last year. We have our goals and dreams, and we’ll try to give our best to get them.”
Canada’s Robert Desjardins, said: “It looked like we were in trouble in the first end, it looked like a steal of one, but it’s really good to start well, it removes the pressure. It’s great ice, it’s like the Brier and the Slams. Unless it’s pretty grabby in the first couple ends, it’s pretty straight after that so it’s pretty easy to throw those big weights on the nose.”
In Group B, Slovenia could not mark their World Curling Championship debut with a win as they lost 7-3 to New Zealand within seven ends. Hans Frauenlob is trying to balance the act of playing in the Mixed Doubles and Senior Curling Championships being staged together in Fredericton, but that didn’t seem to affect his performance as the Kiwi pairing scored five points in the first three ends.
Last year’s bronze medallists, Austria, began well against Japan, leading their Pacific-Asia opponents by 6-2 going into the sixth end. Japan claimed three points from the sixth and seventh ends before Austria sealed their 8-5 victory with a score of two points in the eighth end.
Czech Republic national women’s junior team skip, Zuzana Hajkova, along with her Mixed Doubles partner, Tomas Paul, inflicted a 9-5 defeat against the United States while France suffered a heavy defeat to Denmark, by 12-3 in only seven ends.
Group B Player Reaction:
Denmark’s Are Solberg said: “We expected a nervous tight game, but I think the French were a little bit more nervous than we were. The second end was crucial when we got the steal and the third end we got another steal so we became very relaxed and I think they were very depressed. It gives us a lot of confidence.”
On their first World Championship appearance, Slovenia’s Nadja Pipan, said: “It’s really important for us. We’re a young association, so being here is a big thing for Slovenian curling. Everybody at home is supporting us. We don’t have really big goals; we just enjoy playing and we hope to win a game, maybe.”
Austria’s Christian Roth, said: “It’s a good start for us but we didn’t have an excellent game. We had many problems with the weight but at least we could win the match and that’s the most important thing at the start of the tournament.”
Their was two sessions of play in Group C today, with two results ending 9-3 in only seven ends in the morning session of play.
Norway defeated Finland by this scoreline, the turning point a score of five points in the fourth end, which proved impossible for Finland to recover.
Elsewhere, Latvia defeated English siblings Ben and Anna Fowler, who were making their debut on the World Championship stage, by 9-3 as well.
Coach of Margaretha Sigfidsson’s Swedish women’s team, Frederik Hallström, teamed up with Elisabeth Norredahl to battle against Estonia’s Martin and Kristiine Lill. With the scores tied at 4-4 at the fourth end break, Sweden secured their 7-5 victory with scores of single points in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth ends.
One of the youngest teams here, Scotland, also got their World Championship campaign off to a winning start as they defeated the Netherlands by 10-5.
In the Group C evening sessions, three teams finished day one unbeaten, as Sweden defeated Finland 11-6, Scotland beat England 7-3 in seven ends and Norway recording a narrow victory over Slovakia by 10-9.
The Netherlands also picked up their first victory as they stole three points in the eighth end to win by 9-4 against Estonia.
Group C Player Reaction:
Sweden’s Fredrik Hallström said: “I thought the ice was a bit different in this round than the first round, but I think we had good control of it, and we felt comfortable and made the shots we were supposed to. We’re satisfied.”
Sweden’s Elisabeth Norredahl said: “Oh, two wins, it’s the perfect start, for sure. We have had two tough fights and in that way, we’re good for the rest of our games.”
Scotland’s Bruce Mouat said: “I’ve never really played in anything this big. I’ve played Europeans, but never anything like the Worlds. The nerves were pretty shaky at the start but I definitely settled in after the first four ends against the Netherlands this morning. We took four in the first end, which definitely helped settle the nerves.”
Norway’s Magnus Nedregotten said: “We had some problems at the start. We weren’t focused and I had some difficulties adjusting to the time zone. I felt very sleepy before the start of the game. And it didn’t get better by giving up five in the first end.”
On coming back for the win he said: “It probably gives you the guts to stay in there for your next games when you are down. We’ll believe in ourselves much more now in similar situations. It’s crazy. You can give away five and still win.”
Standings after Day 1:
Canada won 1, lost 0
Czech Republic 1-0
New Zealand 1-0