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Women's Curling Night 7: Korea clinches semifinals with win over Team USA

Curling - Winter Olympics Day 10
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Women's Curling Night 7: Korea clinches semifinals with win over Team USA

China and Great Britain also pick up much needed victories in three games with semifinal implications

South Korea and the U.S. were both playing for something important Monday night.

A win by the South Korean squad would guarantee them a spot in the women's curling semifinals, something very few people would have predicted before competition began. The U.S., on the other hand, was simply fighting to stay in contention. Sitting at 4-3 and tied for fourth in the standings, the U.S. virtually needed to win out in round robin play to keep their hopes alive.

In the end, it was South Korea clinching, while the U.S. is now hoping for help to move on after losing to the home team 9-6.

The U.S. led 3-2 through three ends, and looked to have some momentum. That was until the fifth, when Korea's EunJung Kim had a perfect final throw to get a takeout and roll, laying four in the four-foot and making it virtually impossible for the U.S. to get into the button. U.S. skip Nina Roth made a good effort, but her thow was much too soft and nowhere close to curling enough, turning a 3-2 lead suddenly into a 6-4 deficit. 

The big end not only shifted momentum for Korea, but also got the home crowd on their feet. 

Roth got a bit of redemption in the sixth, getting a takeout of one Korean stone which ricocheted into another to squeeze the U.S. stone onto the button to salvage a point.

Kim got a takeout in the eighth on her final throw, but the roll off of it went too far, allowing Roth to easily put one on the button just behind another of their stones for two to cut Korea's lead to 7-6 with two ends to play.

But Korea answered with two more in the ninth, and the U.S. was unable to find three stones in the house for the tie, forcing Roth and team to concede the final.

The U.S. falls to 4-4 overall, tied with China for fifth in the standings. They'll finish round robin play against Sweden (5-2) Wednesday morning at 6:05 a.m. EST.

Korea is now 6-1 overall and at the top of the standings. After the final handshakes were done, the Korean team turned and took a bow in front of their cheering home crowd. That crowd is now guaranteed at least one extra game from their team, and a possibility of a medal.

USA   2    0    1    0    0    1    0    2    0    X - 6
KOR  0    1    0    1    4    0    1    0    2    X - 9

China 7, Canada 5

After losing their first three games of the tournament, Canada basically needed to win out the rest of round robin play to stay in contention for reaching the semifinals. The defending gold medalists gave it a try, winning three straight, but their semifinal hopes hopes got much more difficult Monday afte ra 7-5 loss to China.

While Canada isn't mathematically eliminated, their 3-4 record puts them seventh out of 10 teams, with only four semifinal spots available. Not only will they have to win their final two games Tuesday against Great Britain (5-3) and Team OAR (2-5), but their destiny has been taken out of their own hands, as they'll have to rely on losses by teams ahead of them as well as their own victories.

Down 2-1 in the fourth, Canada lied one in the house, and worked hard, with some intense sweeping to get a second inside. China's hammer throw came up short, scoring both points for the Canadians to take their first lead.

China answered though, with a perfect shot to score three in the fifth and go up 5-3 at the break.

China burned a rock in the sixth end, but Canada this time decided to let it play. Canadian skip Rachel Homan faced backlash earlier this week when Denmark burned a stone and Homan took it out of play. This time, leaving it in play didn't matter, as Homan wa able to slide her hammer throw onto the button for one.

Down 7-5 in the eighth, Homan had a perfect double takeout for one to cut China's lead in half going into the final end.

But China was able to score a point when they needed it most in the 10th for the victory.

The win puts China at 4-4 overall, tied with the U.S. for fifth, meaning they also have a chance to steal a semifinal spot. They'll take on Sweden (5-2) Tuesday evening to round out their round robin play.

CAN   0    0    1    2    0    1    0    0    1    0 - 5
CHN   0    2    0    0    3    0    0    1    0    1 - 7

Great Britain 8, Japan 6

Great Britain kept their semifinal hopes alive and drew even with Japan in the standings with an 8-6 victory over Japan Monday night. 

With two Japanese stones sitting in the house in the second, Britain's skip Eve Muirhead's final throw didn't have enough curl, missing a full takeout, and setting up Japan for an easy three points.

Britain got it back though, scoring one in the third and stealing another in the fourth when Muirhead stuck her last throw at the top of the 4-foot, putting two stones side-by-side. Japan skip Satsuki Fujisawa was only able to take out one, with her throw just a fraction too soft for the double, giving Britain the steal.

Japan purposefully blanked the fifth to keep hammer, but the attempt failed. Japan's final throw in the sixth grazed their own front stone and missed a double takeout, giving Britain a steal of three and a 6-3 lead.

After going four straight ends without a point, Japan scored two in the seventh to cut the lead to one. But Britain scored one more in the ninth, and knocked out Japan's second to last stone on their final throw, forcing Japan to concede the end and the game.

Great Britain remained very much in play for a semifinal spot, improve to 5-3 overall, tied with Japan for third in the standings.

GBR   1    0    1    1    0    3    0    1    1    0 - 8
JPN    0    3    0    0    0    0    2    0    0    1 - 6

Team Standings:

Korea 6-1

Japan 5-3

Great Britain 5-3

Sweden 5-2

USA 4-4

China 4-4

Canada 3-4

OAR 2-5

Switzerland 2-5

Denmark 1-6

 

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