April 19, 2013, Fredericton, NB (ISN) – Norway, Sweden, Hungary and Czech Republic all reached the Semi-final stages of the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship being held in the Grant Harvey Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
After winning their Quarter-final games, Norway will be play Sweden in the first Semi-final while Hungary take on Czech Republic in the other, both games scheduled for 11:00 (ADT) on Saturday, April 20. The winners of the Semi-finals will play for gold medals while the losers will play for bronze medals at 17:00 (ADT).
Earlier in the day, Norway defeated the Netherlands 9-5 in seven ends in the only tie-breaker of the Championship. This meant that they qualified directly for the Quarter-finals where they met previously undefeated Switzerland.
Norway took advantage of having the last stone in the first end as they took two points. Switzerland hit back immediately afterwards but were restricted to only one point. The turning point in the game came in the third end when Norway’s Magnus Nedregotten and Kristin Skaslien picked up four points to give them a 6-1 lead. They didn’t look back after this as they went on to win 9-4 in only seven ends.
After their victory, Norway’s Magnus Nedregotten said: “We feel good, really good. The ice was tricky but they made some bad choices with their stone placement which didn’t go so well. I think we played better tactically – we made some more cynical choices and we played a lot simpler tonight.”
His partner, Kristin Skaslien, added: “We knew it would be a tough game but we also knew that they would have to lose some time. We started well then we just had to stay focused because we know it can change very quickly in mixed doubles. But we managed.”
Norway’s tie-breaker win in the morning meant that the Czech Republic had to get to the Quarter-finals the hard way as they had to play the sole Qualification game against Russia. The Czechs went on to win that game by 8-3 in seven ends to set up an evening Quarter-final against New Zealand.
In this game the Czechs showed no sign of fatigue as they defeated the New Zealand. Although New Zealand started well, taking two single points from the first two ends, the Czechs scored six points in the next four ends, including a vital score of three points in the fifth end.
New Zealand could not find their way back into the game and eventually conceded after the Czechs took another three points in the seventh end with the final score at 9-2.
After their victory, Czech Republic’s Tomas Paul said: “It’s great that we could play the game earlier (the Quarter-final Qualification Game against Russia) because it gave us confidence. We played great against Russia and we hoped it would be the same here tonight. The first half there was not so good but the second half was great.”
His partner, Zuzana Hajkova, added: “We are lucky that we played against New Zealand before in the Group stages. We knew that Hans (Frauenlob) was really good at draw shots, freezes and tap backs, so we tried to ensure we drew to the button with our first stone and hope that they missed their run backs, like they did finally.”
After previously meeting in Group C, Scotland and Sweden met again in the Quarter-finals as a result of the Draw Shot Challenge (DSC) ranking. However the tables were turned as the Scandinavian duo of Frederik Hallström and Elisabeth Norredahl won 6-4.
Although the game remained tight throughout, Sweden always had the edge over Scotland after picking up an important three points in the fourth end. Scotland managed to steal one point in the final end but it was not enough as Sweden progressed to the Semi-finals.
Talking about picking up the three points in the fourth end, Sweden’s Frederik Hallström said: “We knew that it wasn’t over, it’s a long game to go and we know that a three (point end) could go the other way in the second half of the game, so you’re never sure. We had to have patience and have courage and continue to make the shots. I haven’t played Mixed Doubles enough to know all the tricks yet but we’re getting there. It’s a draw game for sure. The team who has the best draw weight usually does well.”
He continued: “We hoped to go to the Quarter-finals, now we just need to be better. When you’re playing for Sweden you’re expected to go far in a tournament like this, so I think they will be pretty satisfied with us right now, but we will be aiming for the top place.”
In the fourth Quarter-final game, last year’s bronze medallists Austria were hoping to go one better this time around. They faced stiff competition against a Hungarian team who finished runners up in Group A.
Hungary took an early lead, picking up single points in the first two ends. However, Austria struck back with three points of their own over the next two ends to leave the score at 3-2 in their favour at the fourth end break.
Hungary seized the initiative in the second half of the game as they picked up three points in the fifth end which seemed to be the catalyst for their victory charge as they picked up another two points in the seventh and final end to win the game by 7-4.
After defeating Austria, Hungary’s Zsolt Kiss said: “It feels very good. I think we’ve over-achieved our goals. It’s really fantastic but we want to keep going. Before the competition we wanted to qualify for the top eight, but I think we were a little bit lucky that we got to where we did.
He added: “We know them (Austria) very well, we knew their strengths and weaknesses, but I think we played very, very well tonight and we had very good strategy tonight. I think we just want to take a big breath now and reflect on what it feels like to be in the top four. Tomorrow morning we will try to work out our strategies and focus on the next game.”
Netherlands 5, Norway 9 (after seven ends).
Qualification Game for Quarter-finals:
Czech Republic 8, Russia 3 (after seven ends).
Norway 9, Switzerland 4 (after seven ends); Scotland 4, Sweden 6; Austria 4, Hungary 7 (after seven ends); Czech Republic 9, New Zealand 2 (after seven ends).
Schedule of Play:
Semi-finals (11:00 ADT):
Norway v Sweden
Hungary v Czech Republic (Web TV game)
Gold & Bronze Medal Games (17:00):
Gold: Winner of Semi-finals (Web TV game)
Bronze: Losers of Semi-finals