GANGNEUNG, South Korea - Jennifer Jones wasn't expecting much fan
support at the world women's curling championship - so when more than a
dozen red-and-white-clad supporters showed up to her opening game
Saturday, she gave them plenty to cheer about.

Jones took advantage of several key mistakes from
China's Bingyu Wang on the way to an 11-5 victory in Draw 2 action.
Jones, third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn
Askin were their usual efficient selves, dominating the Chinese in a
rematch of last year's title game.

 

The Winnipeg skip was encouraged by the vocal throng
of Canadian fans that stood out among the crowd of roughly 150,
consisting mostly of family and friends from other participating teams.

"We weren't really expecting to see any Canadians
over here, so it was great," said Jones. "It was nice to have fans
there to cheer us on."

The Jones foursome had little trouble adjusting to
the unpredictable ice conditions at the Gangneung International Ice
Rink, finishing at a tidy 82 per cent compared to just 70 for their
Chinese counterparts.

"We felt pretty good," said Jones. "We missed a few
shots that we wouldn't like to miss, but we felt pretty comfortable
with the ice considering it was our first game.

"You never really know what the ice is going to do
the first few games. It's always about getting comfortable with it as
the week goes on. That's what we expected, and we were pretty
comfortable out there."

Wang wasn't nearly as comfortable, and it showed.
She surrendered steals in the first, fourth and seventh ends, allowing
Jones to take control of the game.

Wang said her team struggled in every facet of the
match - and she attributed the result to not having spent enough time
on the ice.

"(We struggled with) the ice, the weight, the
lights, everything," said Wang, who beat Jones twice in three meetings
at last year's tournament in Vernon, B.C. "(Thursday's) practice was
not enough."


Jones said she wasn't bothered by having just one hour of practice time prior to the tournament.

"This is standard, this is the practice that we get
before the worlds and the Scotties (Tournament of Hearts)," said Jones.
"That's what you get, and you just have to go out there and do your
thing."

World junior champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland and
reigning Olympic champion Anette Norberg of Sweden shared the early
lead after both teams posted a pair of opening-day victories.

Muirhead opened the tournament with a 6-3 win over
South Korea's Mi-Yeon Kim (0-2). The host Koreans played Scotland tough
for the first eight ends, but a costly miscue by Kim prevented her from
earning her first win at a world championship.

Tied 3-3 in the ninth, Kim had the hammer but was
facing three Scotland rocks in the house. She misfired on an attempted
hit-and-stick on a yellow stone sitting on the button, giving up the
pivotal steal of three as the crowd of around 200 fans groaned.

"Our aim that end was to force the one and go into
the last end down one with the hammer, and go for two in the last end,"
said Muirhead. "We left her a nose hit, and she was very tight."

Muirhead followed with an 11-2 trouncing of Italy's
Diana Gaspari (0-2) in Draw 2 action, cruising to the win after
stealing three points in the second and fifth ends and scoring another
four with the hammer in the fourth. The game was called after six ends.

Norberg began her quest for a third world
championship with an efficient 7-2 victory over Gaspari in Draw 1, then
downed Kim 10-8 in a rare 12-end game. Norberg had a chance to win it
in the 11th, but she ended up blanking the end when her final shot
rolled out of the rings.


The other Draw 2 game saw Liudmila Privivkova of Russia beat Debbie McCormick of the U.S. 7-5.

In other Draw 1 action, Denmark's Angelina Jensen
drubbed Norway's Marianne Rorvik 10-2 in a game that took just eight
ends, while reigning European champion Mirjam Ott of Switzerland earned
a 7-5 win over Andrea Schopp of Germany.

 
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