April 18, 2013, Fredericton, NB (ISN) – The race for the play-offs continued to gather pace on Wednesday as a number of teams remain in qualification contention with only one more day of round-robin play left at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2013.
Group A Round-up:
Hungary picked up their fifth win of the Championship in the only Group A session of the day to solidify their position in second place in the standings. After scoring eight points from ends two, three and four, they went on to win 11-2 against China.
Italy improved their chances of play-off qualification with a win over Spain. The Italians admitted they were lucky to win after Spain’s Irantzu Garcia could not remove an Italian counter with her last stone, which would have secured them the victory. Instead Italy received a steal of one point in the eighth end to conclude the game at 7-5 in their favour.
Hosts Canada won their game against Russia after securing single points in the first three ends before taking another three points in the fifth end which helped them on their way to a 8-4 win which puts them on three wins and three loses.
Korea picked up their first win of the championship in convincing fashion with a victory over Romania, the only other team yet to pick up a win here in Fredericton. After scoring seven points in the first three ends it was non-stop traffic as Korea secured their 12-1 victory in only six ends.
Group A Player Reaction:
Canada’s Robert Desjardins said: “Canada has to start playing this game. Some of the teams we play here this week, they only play this game. Some of them have never played four-on-four curling. They have maybe two or three shots in their bags, but, believe me, they never miss them. They constantly put rocks in front of your rocks in the four-foot and it’s very complicated to find solutions against those teams. We need to get this game into leagues in Canada and get more people to play it and learn how to play it, because it’s tough against these countries.”
On today’s win, Robert’s partner Isabelle Néron said: “It’s a relief. But we’ve been saying, ‘Let’s stop putting pressure on ourselves. Just make shots and have fun out there.’ And I think we had a lot more fun today.”
Italy’s Alessio Gonin said: “I didn’t play well. I’m so lucky – she (Giorgia Ricca) played so well because I made a lot of mistakes with my shots. We were also lucky with the last shot, but we were not so lucky when Sergio did a run back double – that was a nice shot.”
He added: “We are very happy to win this game because if we win against Russia and Hungary then we qualify (for the play-offs). Russia will be a very difficult team to play against and Hungary more so. Tomorrow I think we can’t play like today – I played so bad.”
Korea’s Jae-Sung Ahn said: “We were very nervous before today’s game but now we feel good because before we lost many games before – we feel very happy. The games against Italy and Russia were very close but I was very angry with my performance. The score against Romania today was a very big score. Tomorrow we play Canada and Spain, which will be two difficult games. I’m very tired and so is Hyun-Ho but we will try our hardest to win our last two games. We have had a lot of fun and it has been a great experience for us here in Canada.”
Group B Round-up:
In Group B’s only session of the day, the Czech Republic and New Zealand joined Austria, who sat out the afternoon session, on five wins and one loss.
The Czech Republic found it tough going against a hard-hitting Australian duo. The teams were tied 4-4 at the fourth end break before Zuzana Hajkova and Tomas Paul claimed steals of two points in the fifth end, then two single steals in the sixth and seventh ends to win the game 8-4.
New Zealand raced to an early lead against Pacific-Asia rivals Japan, taking four points from the first two ends. Although Japan managed to pick up four single points throughout the game it wasn’t enough as New Zealand won 7-4.
United States drew level with Japan in the standings on three wins and three losses as they defeated France 10-3 in seven ends, which included two scores of three points in the fourth and sixth ends.
With Slovenia already out of the competition, they are learning valuable lessons from their remaining games. Although they lost 6-3 to Denmark, they could take some positives from their performance as they look to finish their final day in the Championship on a high.
Group B Player Reaction:
Czech Republic’s Zuzana Hajkova said: “I had my best game this afternoon for sure. For the first time I caught my draw weight so I think I played almost every first shot well so our opponents had really hard beginning of ends.
“We are really confident at some things in Mixed Doubles curling, like stealing. But I think we are still in a situation in which we are still trying to get a better understanding of what to do in different situations. I think we are one of the better teams in this group but our opponents may surprise us so nothing is for certain just now.
Czech Republic’s Tomas Paul, added: “We need one more win to be sure of at least a tie-break, so it’s nice. I think our performance has been quite good overall so far – we’ve made a lot of shots, not missed many of them.”
The USA’s Peter Stolt said: “It felt good. We were playing well before the third end but that was certainly a key moment in our favour, there’s obviously a four-point swing on that shot.
His partner, Maureen Stolt, said: “It was a pretty important game, last night wasn’t the best, so we wanted to get back onto the ice, get focused and kind of get to play as we know we can. That’s the biggest thing for us – to get back in the zone and get focused in the next two games.”
Group C Round-up:
Group C played two sessions of day and in the morning Scotland extended their unbeaten record in what proved to be a tight game against Latvia. Scotland secured their 8-7 victory by one point in an extra end after Latvia tied the game at 7-7 with a score of four points in the eighth end.
Norway kept up their good form with a comfortable 9-2 win over Estonia in seven ends, while their Scandanavian counterparts, Sweden, slipped up against Slovakia who picked up their second win of the Championship with a 10-4 victory.
The other game in this group in the morning session, between Finland and the Netherlands, needed an extra end to decide the winner as well. Finland could not make it two consecutive wins as the Netherlands took the single point with the hammer to win the game 7-6.
In the evening session, the Netherlands continued their impressive form as they beat England, taking four points in the second end on their way to a 10-4 win.
Scotland meanwhile suffered their first defeat as they lost out in the eighth end as Norway took three points to secure a 6-5 victory, which leaves them in joint top position in the standings alongside Scotland, with six wins and one loss.
Sweden got back to winning ways as they defeated Latvia 8-5 in seven ends which leaves them in third position on five wins and two losses while in the other Group C evening game, Finland picked up their second win of the Championship as they defeated Slovakia 8-5.
Group C Player Reaction:
After their win over England, the Netherlands Mark Neeleman said: “We started off a little soft. It’s been a long day because we started early this morning. We had to kick it up a little and we did. The energy was going a little bit more and we were a little more focused. We started to make our shots and they were under pressure because they had some tough shots. That’s what helped us get away with a win here.”
He added: “The wins are really crucial, and the losses at the beginning of the tournament are even more crucial now. There’s still a slight chance we make playoffs based on the rest of the results in our group. One more win tomorrow and then it’s up to the gods.”
Norway’s Magnus Nedregotten, on his last shot for three points to win the game against Scotland, said: “It looked very hard. We actually thought we might have a shot for an extra end but then I saw a possibility for it going perfectly and go for three and the win, so it was good to see it go. I was quite secure that we could get an extra end but there was a possibility to get a three.”
His partner, Kristin Skaslien, said: “I have to admit that last night didn’t go great. We had a good win this morning against Estonia and that really helped us get our confidence back. We just relaxed between the games today and we were really focused on going for the win tonight.”
Standings after Day 5:
Switzerland won 6 – lost 0
Czech Republic 5-1
New Zealand 5-1