Women: Session 3: RUS 7-3 DEN, SWE 6-4 GBR, CHN 8-6 SUI
VANCOUVER, Feb 17 - Sweden is the only undefeated Women's rink after Session 3 action at the Vancouver Olympic Centre on Wednesday.
Sweden's game against Great Britain, on Sheet B, featured a clash of styles, with flashy 19-year-old Scottish skip Eve MUIRHEAD (GBR) squaring off against patient, experienced Swedish skip Anette NORBERG (SWE).
From the start, both served up precisely what was expected of them.
In the first, MUIRHEAD gave Sweden a steal of one when, facing two Swedish counters with the last rock, she inexplicably threw a hit and roll rather than throwing a simple draw to the four-foot. Great Britain gave up another steal in the second and Sweden led 2-0 after two.
MUIRHEAD lived up to her billing as a splendid shot-maker with a number of spectacular takeouts, particularly a long, perfectly angled raise takeout for one in the fifth, and a double takeout in the eighth that left her shooter on the button behind cover, ultimately earning a steal of one.
One, however, was too common a number for Great Britain. They never earned more, going the entire game without so much as a deuce.
NORBERG deserved part of the blame. The Swedish skip proved better at building solid Swedish ends than MUIRHEAD was at crowd-pleasing throws.
When the chips were down, NORBERG delivered splendid shot-making of her own. In the ninth, up 5-3 but with Great Britain holding the hammer, NORBERG threw a clutch raise double takeout with her first skip stone that managed to leave untouched her shot stone on the button. The resulting position ultimately forced Great Britain to settle for one and yield the hammer to Sweden for the 10th end.
In the 10th, NORBERG showed perfect touch with her last stone on a hit and roll to bite the four-foot and seal the 6-4 win.
Great Britain now stands at 1-1.
On Sheet D, world champion China bounced back from an opening loss to defeat Switzerland, 8-6.
The deciding factor in the game was the unusually spotty play of veteran Swiss skip Mirjam OTT (SUI).
In the first, she turned a possible four into two, overthrowing her last-stone takeout and rolling out, killing another potential Swiss counter along the way.
The Swiss led 3-1 after four, but the fifth end was disastrous for OTT. China had the hammer. With her first skip stone, OTT badly missed a double takeout attempt, throwing her shooter through the house. With her second she wrecked on a guard, leaving China with a free draw for four.
OTT stormed off at the break and returned determined to atone for her mistakes. But China held firm and took a 7-4 lead into the ninth.
In the ninth, the Swiss took a deuce to move within one, and in the 10th they crowded the house with their yellow stones to put the pressure on China. With the last stone, Chinese skip Bingyu WANG (CHN) pulled off a perfectly weighted hit and stay on the button to secure the victory.
China now stands at 1-1. The highly regarded Swiss rink is a surprising 0-3.
On Sheet A, the Russian Federation met Denmark. The teams, which lost their opening matches, continued their undistinguished play.
A Denmark mistake in the ninth was pivotal. Down 4-3, fourth Madeleine DUPONT (DEN) tried to blank the end to retain the hammer going into the 10th, but her attempted takeout of Russia's lone counter in the 12 foot sailed wide, giving Russia a steal of one and a 5-3 lead.
In the 10th, the Russians positioned their stones well enough to prevent a Danish deuce, and wound up with a steal of a meaningless two. The final score was Russia 7, Denmark 3.
Russia improved to 1-1. Denmark is now 0-2.
Olympic News Service
Women: Session 2:
GBR 5-4 CHN, GER 6-5 USA, CAN 7-6 JPN, SUI 7-8 SWE
VANCOUVER, Feb 17 - Great Britain upset world champion China and Canada, Sweden and Germany emerged as the Women's Curling tournament's early leaders in Women's Session 2 at Vancouver Olympic Centre on Wednesday.
The session's marquee game, on Sheet A, featured two of the best young skips in Women's Curling - 19-year-old phenomenon Eve MUIRHEAD (GBR) and Bingyu WANG (CHN). Both were making their Olympic debuts at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
In the early going MUIRHEAD showed poorly with her weight and her strategy. In the second she overthrew a last-stone draw to give China a steal of one. In the fourth, chasing a potential three, she opted for a risky takeout rather than a draw for a relatively easy two. Needing to remove a Chinese stone that was nearly frozen above her shot stone at the edge of the four-foot, she wound up removing both stones and had to settle for one. The game went to the fifth tied 1-1.
WANG was not immune to error either. She wrecked in the fifth to give Great Britain a steal of two and a 3-1 lead. Generally, her rink had difficulty putting together a significant scoring end. Starting the sixth end with the hammer, WANG opted for blanks in the sixth and seventh and missed an opportunity in the eighth when she was off-line on a hit and roll for two, and settled for one.
The game went to the tenth with China trailing 4-2. With the hammer, China finally scored a deuce and sent the game to extra ends.
MUIRHEAD's final stone in the eleventh, a takeout, became shot stone by the thinnest of margins and Great Britain emerged with a 5-4 victory.
On Sheet D, Japan faced Canada. Japan took an early lead in the second when Cheryl BERNARD (CAN) threw two poor skip stones. She wrecked her first draw attempt and dramatically underthrew a second draw to hand Japan a steal of three.
Canada bounced back with a deuce in the third, and Japan skip Moe MEGURO (JPN) missed a takeout in the fifth to give BERNARD's rink a steal of two and a 4-3 lead.
Japan struck back with two in the sixth to retake the lead, 5-4. The teams swapped singles in the eighth and ninth, and Canada went to the tenth with the hammer. An under-weighted final-stone double takeout attempt by MEGURO gave Canada a chance for two, and BERNARD capitalised with an easy takeout for the come-from-behind 7-6 win.
On Sheet B, Germany moved to 2-0 by beating the United States 6-5.
Germany's rink featured a line-up change, with Corinna SCHOLZ (GER) replacing 17-year-old Stella HEISS (GER) as lead. But skip Andrea SCHOEPP (GER) has seemed capable of winning with any teammates.
Arguably the best female skip in the tournament so far, SCHOEPP moved Germany into a 4-1 lead in the fifth with a takeout for three.
SCHOEPP made an uncharacteristic mistake in the sixth, misjudging the weight on a hit and roll to allow the United States to steal one. She rebounded, however, in the eighth, with a difficult takeout for two and a decisive 6-3 lead.
Sheet C's Switzerland-Sweden match featured two of Curling's most decorated veteran skips, Anette NORBERG (SWE) and Mirjam OTT (SUI).
Much of the game was a strategist's dream, with houses full of stones in most ends. It was tied 4-4 going into the seventh, when NORBERG pulled off a brilliant raise double takeout to move Sweden ahead 6-4.
Sweden took a 7-5 advantage into the tenth, but OTT, with the hammer, succeeded on a delicate draw to the button for two to earn the tying deuce and send it to extra ends.
In the eleventh, NORBERG, with the hammer, made an easy takeout for the 8-7 win.