NASEBY, NEW ZEALAND –China and Japan have qualified for the World Women’s Curling Championship 2013, while both their men’s teams have qualified for the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013 after winning their play-off games today and progressing to tomorrow’s gold medal games at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships.
The women played a best of five play-off, with their first two results against today’s opposition in the double round-robin counting for the first two games of the play-offs. As top ranked China had already beaten Australia twice in the double round-robin they only needed one more win to qualify for the gold medal game.
It was steals of single points in the second, fifth and eighth ends that helped China win, and although Australia managed to pick up a single point in the third and sixth ends, as well as a score of two points in the ninth end, it wasn’t enough and China won the game quite comfortably, 6-4 in nine ends.
Afterwards, China skip, Bingyu Wang, said: “It’s great to have qualified for the World Championship, it gives us one more chance to get points for the Olympics. But the PACC is not finished yet – we hope to play very well tomorrow, have a great end to the Championship and then hope to do well in the World Championship in Latvia next year.”
On this morning’s game she added: “I think we played a simple game today. We were very patient and we believed in ourselves before the game – we thought we could win it if we played to our level and made all of our rocks count. Tomorrow I think we just have to play like normal, think hard and try our best.”
In the other women’s play-off, Japan and Korea were tied at 1-1 following their double round-robin results against each other. Japan however took the initiative in the play-offs, taking important scores of three points in the second end, stealing one point in the third end and scoring another two points in the fifth end. Following the fifth end break, with the score at 6-2 in Japan’s favour, they remained in control of the game which finished 9-4 in the ninth end.
The men played a best of three play-off, with their first result against today’s opposition in the round-robin counting for the first game of the play-offs. As a result, Australia were 1-0 up going into the play-offs this morning after beating China yesterday.
China started with hammer and decided to blank the first end. They then took two points in the second end before a steal of another two points in the third end helped them gain a 4-0 lead. This proved to be too much for Australia who eventually conceded defeat in the ninth end with a final score of 8-3 to tie the best of three play-off at 1-1.
In the other men’s play-off, Korea went into the morning match against Japan with a one game advantage having beaten them during the round-robin. The key moment in this game came in the sixth end when Korea were attempting a double take-out for three points and their last stone picked, which gave Japan a steal of two points. This proved to be decisive as Japan went on to win the game 8-4 and tie the play-offs 1-1 with Korea.
The only women’s play-off in the afternoon between Japan and Korea proved to be more one sided as Japan raced to a 4-1 lead going into the fifth end. Korea could only manage three points throughout the game and in the ninth end Korea decided to shake hands and end the game at 7-3. This meant that Japan won their best of five play-off 3-1 and therefore progress into tomorrow’s gold medal game against China.
Afterwards, Japan skip, Satsuki Fujisawa, said: “Last year we lost and I could not stand it. This year we wanted revenge and we got it. Our physical condition and shot making is a lot better now and I think this helped. I’m just so happy to make it to the World Championship.”
On tomorrow’s gold medal game, she added: “We need to do what we did today – if we can fight like that tomorrow, I am very confident we can win the game.”
Two men’s play-offs took place this afternoon, with Australia and China also playing out a tight game. Both teams began the game nervously with a place in the gold medal game and qualification for the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013 at stake. However, with scores of two points in the third end, another two points in the sixth end and three points in the ninth end and final end, such scores proved to be crucial as China won the game 8-3 to win the play-off 2-1 overall.
Afterwards, China skip, Rui Liu , said: “We are very excited to go back to the World Championship. We put all our hard practice and training to effect this week and it has paid off. Tomorrow (in the gold medal game) we will try to play our usual game and keep up the tempo.”
Japan and Korea went into the other men’s game tied at 1-1 overall in the play-offs. With the scores tied at 2-2 going into the fourth end, Japan claimed the highest score of the game, four points which proved to be decisive in the final outcome of the game. Another score of three points in the sixth end helped secure a 9-4 victory for Japan and a place in the gold medal game and the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013.
Afterwards, Japan skip, Yusuke Morozumi, said: “We can’t believe it. We’ve been at the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships in years before but to finally get our ticket to the World Championship is amazing! The Korean team were very good today, but we were just that little bit better than them. As a skip and as a team we played very well. One of my players is crying, it just feels so great. This was our goal and we made it so we are so happy.”
The women’s medal games will be played at 09:30 tomorrow morning and the men’s medal games will be played at 14:00 tomorrow afternoon.