BEIJING (Reuters) -Reigning world curling champions Britain slipped to their first mixed doubles defeat against Switzerland at the National Aquatics Centre on Thursday, while Italy stormed to the top of the standings with a perfect start to their round-robin campaign.
Trailing for most of the game, Britain fought back to level the scores heading into the last end. A single point proved decisive for the Swiss pair as they claimed an 8-7 victory after losing their first two matches.
Britain’s Bruce Mouat was optimistic about the chances of qualifying for the semi-finals, as they remain well-placed to progress following victory over Sweden in Wednesday’s opener and an impressive 6-4 win over fellow favourites Canada earlier.
“We’re still feeling pretty positive,” he said. “If we said we were going to be two and one after the first two days, we’d be really chuffed with that, so we’re still in a good spot.”
Canada’s John Morris, who won the inaugural mixed doubles gold in Pyeongchang, and Rachel Homan bounced back from their opening loss to Britain with a 7-6 win over Norwegian duo Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten.
“We’re not playing our absolute best yet, but it’s early in the week,” Morris said. “Mixed doubles is a roller coaster, you know? You’re never out of it, and you’re never safe… All those four matches tonight, every one of them was fantastic.”
Italy’s Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner beat Switzerland 8-7 in the afternoon session after pulling off an 8-4 victory against the United States, who also came up short against Norway with an 11-6 loss.
Hosts China also faltered in their third match after winning the first two, as Sweden came from behind to claim a 6-7 win with a stunning shot in the eighth end, while Australia remain winless after being swept aside 8-2 by Czech Republic.
Italy are level with China at the top of the table but have a game in hand. Britain, Sweden and Czech Republic are all joint second with two wins and one defeat.
The top four teams will advance to the semi-finals after nine preliminary rounds.
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma; editing by Richard Pullin and Bill Berkrot)