Canada's Jennifer Jones stays unbeaten with win over China in women's world curling
A win over defending champion China at the women's world curling championship Monday was a double benefit for Canada's Jennifer Jones.
SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. - A win over defending champion China at the women's world curling championship Monday was a double benefit for Canada's Jennifer Jones.
Not only did the 10-9 victory propel the host team to 5-0 as the only unbeaten rink in the 12-team field, but it pushed China's Wang Bingyu closer to the brink of playoff elimination.
China fell to 1-4, and the winners of the Olympic bronze medal last month in Vancouver can't afford to lose another game. The four teams with the best records Thursday advance to the playoffs.
"It was a big win for us, just to keep the momentum going," Jones said following the game.
This was one of the anticipated matchups of the preliminary round because these two teams met in the world final two years ago in Vernon, B.C., where Jones beat Wang 7-4 and won her first world title.
Wang won China's first world title last year when she defeated Olympic gold medallist Anette Norberg in the championship game.
The Canada-China matchup lived up to its billing in suspense, if not execution, with brilliant shotmaking combined with costly mistakes by both teams.
Down a point coming home with the hammer, Jones made a tricky double takeout to score two for the win in front of an appreciative full-house crowd at the Credit Union iPlex.
"A close game is always fun to play and coming down to last rock we hadn't had one of those and you want to have to make a couple of last rocks to win games," said the 35-year-old corporate lawyer. "We had to do that today. That's good heading into the latter part of the week.
"To not play our best and come out with a win is huge. You want a couple of those along the way and against China, that's a big win for us."
Jones, third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn Askin were alone atop the leaderboard ahead of Scotland's Eve Muirhead and Erika Brown of the U.S. at 4-1.
Canada, which doubled Latvia 12-6 on Monday afternoon, faces Denmark's Angelina Jensen (3-2) on Tuesday morning and Brown at night.
Denmark, Sweden's Cecilia Ostlund, Germany's Andrea Schopp and Russia's Anna Sidorova were all tied at 3-2. China was 1-4 alongside Norway, Switzerland, Japan and Latvia.
In the Page playoff, the first and second seeds play each other with the winner advancing directly to Sunday's final. The loser drops to Saturday's semifinal to face the winner of the playoff game between the third and fourth seeds.
Overton-Clapham and Askin were the most consistent of the four Canadians against China. Jones and Officer struggled over the first five ends, but brought their shooting percentages up in the back half.
Overton-Clapham far outplayed Chinese counterpart Liu Yin with a shooting percentage of 95 to Liu's 74.
Momentum flipped back and forth between the two rinks. Jones was light on draws in the fourth and fifth ends to give up steals and fall behind 5-2. Wang let Canada back in the game in the sixth with a complete miss of a double takeout. Jones drew in to score four and take the lead.
"I feel so sad," Wang said. "I think we had so many chances to win this game, but we lose. We gave back chances, but I really want to say this was a good game for us.
"We should look at the better side, the good side and not the bad side."
Wang's team is suffering post-Olympic burnout and opened the world championship with three straight losses before beating Latvia on Monday morning.
After three days of afternoon and evening draws, the Canadians' alarm clocks will go off much earlier with three straight days of morning draws starting at 8:30 a.m. local time.
That's an early start when the curlers need to eat, get to the rink and warm up, particularly when they've played an evening draw the previous night as they did Monday.
Jones doesn't mind. She and her teammates are veterans of the evening-morning draw schedule and adjust their eating and sleeping around it.
"Probably my favourite draw to play is a morning draw," Jones said Monday after Canada's win. "I'm up anyway. I can't sleep in. It's a curse. I might as well get out there and curl. I'm not a night owl, that's for sure.
"If you have a morning-night, you can have a nap in the afternoon. We do it all the time."