Canada's Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

·3 min read

CALGARY — Canada's Kerri Einarson beat China's Yu Han 6-4 on Friday morning and secured a playoff spot later in the day when Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni beat Germany 8-3 at the world women's curling championship.

Tirinzoni, the defending champ, needed only eight ends to defeat the three-player German side skipped by Daniela Jentsch in the afternoon draw.

That result locked in Canada for one of the six playoff spots. By making the cut, Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Brianne Meilleur also secured an Olympic berth for Canada at the 2022 Beijing Games.

Einarson finished her round-robin with a 7-6 record, good for a fifth-place tie with two sessions to go.

The first-place Tirinzoni came through with the victory, improving to 11-1.

The full playoff picture at the 14-team competition will become clearer later in the day. Round-robin play will conclude with the evening draw was WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre.

"I can't control what the other teams do out on the ice," Einarson said after her morning win. "I've just got to hope and pray that we've got a chance."

Tiebreaker games are not used at this event. Instead, head-to-head records come into play along with pre-game last stone draw results.

In other early games, Russia's Alina Kovaleva posted a 7-3 win over American Tabitha Peterson, Denmark's Madeleine Dupont topped Scotland's Eve Muirhead 9-5 and Germany edged Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic 9-8.

The Canadian team put some early pressure on China and it paid off with steals. Yu rubbed a guard in the first end to give Canada a deuce and Einarson stole a single in the fourth.

Canada stole another point in the eighth end and ran China out of stones in the 10th to win it.

After a stunning 1-5 start, Canada returned to form in recent days to get back to the .500 mark. The China victory was desperately needed even if it only set up some scoreboard-watching for the rest of the day.

"It's been an absolute roller-coaster," Einarson said. "Sometimes we'd just dig ourselves in a hole and we'd just battle back."

At the start of the morning session, Canada was one of seven teams with a chance of earning one of three remaining playoff berths.

Switzerland, Russia's Alina Kovaleva and reigning Olympic champion Anna Hasselborg of Sweden locked up berths earlier in the competition. Denmark (7-5) moved into fourth place with its victory to lock down its spot.

The Americans were tied with Canada at 7-6. Germany, South Korea's EunJung Kim and Scotland were next at 6-6, entering the afternoon draw.

Television and streaming coverage resumed Friday morning. Seven members of the event broadcast team tested positive for COVID-19, forcing a five-day coverage shutdown and postponement of one session.

After repeated negative tests from other members of the broadcast crew, Alberta Health approved a World Curling Federation proposal to resume coverage with minimal staff for the final three days of competition.

Staffers who tested positive remain in isolation and are being monitored by medical officials. Athletes and team officials are staying at a different hotel than the broadcast staff.

Canada is looking to return to the podium for the first time since Jennifer Jones won gold in 2018 at North Bay, Ont.

Chelsea Carey represented Canada in 2019 at Silkeborg, Denmark but didn't make the playoffs. Last year's championship was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Brendan Bottcher represented Canada at the world men's curling championship last month in the curling bubble. He reached the six-team playoffs but lost the qualification game.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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