World Mixed Doubles Championship 2012 Day 5

Estonia's Martin Lill still in with a chance of making the quarterfinals photo: WCF / Volkan Atar

Canada, China, Switzerland and the USA are through to the quarterfinals of the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2012 in Erzurum, Turkey with a further eight teams still in the mix for the remaining four final stage spots.

On Friday morning, things looked a bit messy in the yellow group. All nine teams had a theoretical chance of qualifying. But after the last session of the day, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark and Italy topped the board. Unlike the red and blue groups, no team has yet secured a quarterfinal place. Scotland and Sweden play their final games on Saturday morning and only then will it be clear which teams may go through or face an eventual tiebreaker.

Sweden started off the day by beating Hungary 5-2 and then Australia in a great game. The key shots for Sweden were their first come-arounds. Per Noreen played perfect freezes, setting them up in great positions. Australia’s Kim Forge and Stephen Johns came back strong and Kim played an unbelievable runback to keep the game close. But in the end, Sweden won 11-6.

Scotland beat Korea 7-1 and then saw off Hungary in a close game, where Scotland’s Judith McFarlane played a really nice split to sit three. The Scottish duo took a further three points in the last end, which enabled them to pick up a 7-6 win. This result ended Hungary’s chances of making the final stages.

Denmark played a total of three games on Friday. The first was in the morning against Italy where they were beaten 8-7. Then they also lost against Australia after a big steal of two for Kim Forge and Stephen Johns. The Danish pair Oliver Dupont and Mette de Neergaard came back and saw off Romania with the big score of 13-4.

Korea dropped in the standings after their loss to Scotland in a game where Judith McFarlane and Lee McCleary stole five ones in a row. Finally, Spain beat Romania. None of those teams are within reach of playoffs spots.

Sweden’s Per Noreen after winning their game against Australia: “I think we are playing better and better. We have one match left [against Korea] and if we win that we go to the quarterfinals and I think we have a real chance to do that.”

Scotland’s Judith McFarlane after their win over Hungary: “both teams played exceptionally well. I think that was probably the best game of mixed doubles we have had – opposition wise. It was really tight all the way. In the eighth end, we were two down and we needed to take three or more. They left us a double, I took the double and Ilidi [Szekeres] unfortunately with her last shot, just clipped the guard and left us with a three.”

Yellow Group Standings
1. Scotland 5-2
1. Sweden 5-2
3. Denmark 5-3
3. Italy 5-3
5. Hungary 4-4
6. Korea 3-4
6. Spain 3-4
8. Australia 2-5
9. Romania 1-6

Canada secured the first red group place in quarterfinals with a 9-2 win over Norway. Dean Hicke and teammate Chantelle Eberle remain unbeaten but still have to play Latvia before they head to the final round on Sunday.

China’s Yansong Ji and Sijia Liu became the second team to qualify, as they, in turn, defeated Norway by a score of 10-2.

After being beaten by Finland, Austria’s Claudia Toth and Christian Roth kept their quarterfinals hopes alive by winning their game against Slovakia. They have played all their games and must wait the outcome of the final day of round robin play to see whether they are through.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the quarterfinals and the best ‘third place’ team. The other two ‘third place’ teams face a qualification game to decide the final quarterfinal place. This game is scheduled for Saturday evening.

Red Group Standings
1. Canada 7-0 (Qualified for Quarterfinals)
2. China 6-1 (Qualified for Quarterfinals)
3. Austria 5-3
4. Latvia 4-3
5. Finland 3-4
5. Slovakia 3-4
7. Turkey 2-5
8. France 2-6
9. Norway 1-7

In the blue group Estonia picked up two wins on Friday to keep their sights on the quarterfinals. Martin and Kristiine Lill got off to a great start against the Czech Republic with a score of three in the first end and stealing two more points in the second. The Czechs were unable to recover and the Estonians won the game 7-5. Estonia went on to beat New Zealand 10-4. The Czech Republic bounced back with a win over Ireland 6-3.

Switzerland picked up two more wins. The Swiss came out winners in an evenly matched game against USA with the score 7-6. Afterwards Switzerland’s Martin Rios admitted that it was their toughest game so far. Switzerland’s game against Germany was also tight, but Rios and teammate Nadine Lehmann took control with a steal of two in seventh end winning 8-6.

The game between New Zealand and Japan was an interesting one. The Kiwis were leading by three before Japan scored five points in the sixth end, then they scored three back the end after. John Campbell made an amazing last stone freeze, leaving no shot for Japan, winning the game for him and his daughter Natalie. The final score was 8-6. Japan went on to win 6-5 over England in the last session of the day and keep in contention for a quarterfinal place.

New Zealand’s John Campbell after their win against Japan and on how they gave away five points to their opponents: “We probably are better at drawing than hitting but when you’ve got that many stones against you and you’ve only got one – you’ve got to try and move some and we didn’t quite make it! That’s the game.”

Blue Group Standings
1. Switzerland 8-0 (Qualified for Quarterfinals)
2. USA 6-1 (Qualified for Quarterfinals)
3. Estonia 4-3
3. Japan 4-3
5. Czech Republic 3-4
5. New Zealand 3-4
7. England 2-5
7. Germany 2-5
9. Ireland 0-7

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