World Mixed Doubles Championship 2012 Day 4

USA's Cristin Clark photo: WCF / Volkan Atar

Canada, Switzerland and the USA are the only teams to remain unbeaten after the fourth day of play at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Erzurum, Turkey.

In the red group, the game of the day was the match between Canada and China, both unbeaten until that point. It was a tight game, with both teams tied 3-3 at the fourth end break. China eventually conceded in the eighth end, not even playing their last stone, on a score of 8-5, believing they did not have a shot to tie the game up although two of their stones remained in play. China stays in second spot in the group following their wins against Latvia and Finland on Thursday.

Austria had an astonishing day winning both their games hands down – 10-0 - and allowing neither their French or Turkish opponents to score a single point. With these two additional wins Christian Roth and Claudia Toth remain in quarterfinal contention.

The French pair, Delphine Charlet and Tony Angiboust, found winning form again in the evening to deal a similar blow that they had suffered themselves in the morning to Norway and win that game 14-0.

Canada’s Dean Hicke on their game against China: “We watched them play a little bit and they are quite defensive. They would throw guards up early. So we wanted to get a feel for how they would play the game. We were cautious, but we had a chance for four in the first end, sometimes being cautious works out. We didn’t get our four!”

Latvia’s Dace Regza, who celebrated her 50th birthday on Wednesday, spoke about how age is a factor in being able to play Mixed Doubles. She said her knee is causing her problems, but not enough of a problem to prevent them from winning their afternoon game 11-3 against Finland. Regza says Mixed Doubles is a physical game but she does a lot of training in the gym and tries to stay fit and strong. [Dace Regaza is the oldest female player at the 2012 Championships, Silvia Sykorova from the Slovak team is the youngest at 15. Spain’s Sergio Vez is the youngest male player (15) and Ireland’s David Smith is the oldest (66)]

Red Group Standings
1. Canada 6-0
2. China 5-1
3. Austria 4-2
4. Latvia 3-3
5. Slovakia 2-3
6. Finland 2-4
6. Turkey 2-4
8. France 2-5
9. Norway 1-5

Denmark is still on top of the yellow group. Oliver Dupont and Mette de Neergard suffered their first loss of the event in the morning session against Korea. They came back against Spain in a close match to remain on only one loss. That game went to an extra end. Spain’s Irantzu Garcia had a draw to the four foot for the win but was very heavy. Denmark stole a win after an umpire’s measure.

Breathing down Denmark’s neck in the yellow group are Hungary and Italy. Gyorgy Nagy and Ildiko Szekeres lost against Italy but picked up a win over Australia, leaving them on 4 wins and 2 losses. Lucrezia Salvai and Simone Gonin suffered one loss in the morning draw to Sweden 6-7.

Sweden and Scotland are just behind are on three wins and two losses. While Sweden picked up two wins on Thursday, Scotland had only one game and went down 10-4 to Australia. Lee McCleary and Judith McFarlane let the Australian duo of Stephen Johns and Kim Forge take two threes and then steal not one but two deuces. It was the first win of the event for Australia.

Romania produced the surprise of the evening draw, pulling out a win over Korea to get their first victory. Romania only started curling two years ago.

Korea’s Jong Chul Beak (speaking in English) after beating Denmark 9-5 said after they had lost their game last night against Spain he and teammate Kyung-Mi Park had talked about their strategy. As Denmark had not lost a game and had four straight wins, they planned a different strategy for this game. He said they played a more aggressive game, getting more stones into the house when they had hammer and when they didn’t have the last stone advantage they played a more simple, take-out game.

Australia’s Steve Johns and Kim Forge on how the altitude in Erzurum has affected them: “we live by the ocean, so being at over 2000 metres has provided us with a bit of a challenge to get used to.” Kim: “I just want to thank our fellow competitors for their understanding, especially Gyorgy from the Hungarian team, who gave us a bottle of oxygen just the night before we had to play against them. I think that shows the true spirit of curling.”
Johns: “But we are feeling much better now and a win makes us happier. I think we’re finding the weight, in Australia we don’t have any curling ice, we play in a hockey rink.”

Romania’s Allen Coliban after their win against Korea: “I think we just got rid of the pressure that we’ve had usually that we must to do something good during the matches. We took one shot at a time and it went great! We came here so see how it is and to win any matches if we can – so we are happy to win this one.”

Yellow Group Standings
1. Denmark 4-1
2. Hungary 4-2
3. Italy 4-3
4. Scotland 3-2
4. Sweden 3-2
5. Korea 3-3
7. Spain 2-4
8. Australia 1-3
8. Romania 1-3

In the blue group, the Czech Republic started off their day with a win over Germany. Petra Vinsova played a nice tap-back to score two and secure another win for the Czechs. Later in the day the Czech duo lost 7-10 to New Zealand. For John Campbell and his daughter Natalie, they said it was their best game of the event so far.

USA still has a perfect record after beating England 9-4 and Estonia 8-5. Estonia had a slow start and gave away a steal of five points in second end. The Americans are now on five wins.

Switzerland scored in five consecutive ends against Ireland, winning 10-1. David Smith finally scored in the sixth end with a nice double takeout. Switzerland continued to be undefeated with a win over England 6-4 later on, and now sit alone on top of the blue group having played one more game than USA.

Ireland lost their second game of the day against Germany, and is now the only team in the blue group with no wins. The Germans scored the maximum of six points in the fourth end to see off the Irish.

Japan clinched their third win over Estonia with the scoreline 12-5, and with that keeps their hopes of a playoff spot alive as they sit in third place behind the Swiss and USA. Estonia lost both games today and is tied in fourth place along with New Zealand and Czech Republic.

Switzerland’s Martin Rios: “I didn’t know nothing about this game before coming here, this is my sixth game in my life! We knew though that Switzerland has done really well at this in the last couple of years and we are here to fight.”

USA’s Brady Clark after their win against Estonia: “Any day you get two wins is a good day. We just dialled in on our weight – so you’ve got your draw weight and once you get that and throw a reasonable line, the game gets a little easier. Having a couple years experience of having done this before, you feel at ease and you just play as opposed to letting nerves get in the way. The level of the game has gone up and up. There are teams training specifically for this. Each year that we’ve played it feels like the teams have gotten stronger”

Blue Group Standings
1. Switzerland 6-0
2. USA 5-0
3. Japan 3-2
4. Czech Republic 2-3
4. Estonia 2-3
4. New Zealand 2-3
7. England 2-4
7. Germany 2-4
9. Ireland 0-5

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