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Defending champion China drops opener to Germany

Defending world champion Bingyu Wang of China was upended Saturday afternoon in the initial round of action at the Ford World women’s curling championship, presented by Monsanto.

Wang jockeyed in front of Germany’s Andrea Schoepp 5-3 after five ends, then faltered and was outscored 5-1 over the last five in an 8-6 decision favouring Germany.  Attempting a runback to remain in the game with last rock, Wang wrecked on a guard to enable Germany to post a stolen insurance point.

“We made so many mistakes in that game,” said Wang, the bronze medallist in the recent Vancouver Olympic Games curling tournament.  “Our players don’t feel so good about it. Our communication was poor. It was the first game for us and a tough game and that is not bad for us.”

It wasn’t a problem a year ago at Gangneung, Korea, either, when China lost its opener to Canada’s Jennifer Jones and then rang up a 12-game winning streak to claim the world title.

“It doesn’t matter that they’re the defending champions,” said Schoepp, who is appearing in her 17th world championship.  “I think most of these teams are the same and really close together. So you can win, 50-50, and it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. We’ve played them (China) a few times this year and it was always close. It was mostly extra ends. This time we got the job done in 10 ends.”

It was the only game of the day for both teams. In other afternoon action, Scotland’s 19-year-old Eve Muirhead turned on the heat and walloped Denmark 9-4 while Erika Brown of the U.S. defeated Russia, skipped by Anna Sidorova, 8-6 and Japan’s Moe Meguro dropped the rookie Latvian team skipped by Iveta Stasa-Sarsune by a 7-4 count.

Scotland jumped into a 5-1 lead against Angelina Jensen’s Copenhagen crew, then watched the Danes throw up an offensive of sorts that was halted in the eighth end when Muirhead issued a takeout in the four-foot that involved the movement of three stones to render three of her own standing up for a game-ending killer count.

“It’s always good for us to get off to a good start and never really let the opposition in,” said Muirhead. “We were on them pretty well all the way. They didn’t have a disastrous game but we just pounced on top of them with every shot and really controlled the issue.”

Denmark’s last-rock thrower, Madeleine Dupont, agreed. “We can’t be too worried,” she said. “Eve and the girls played amazing. We didn’t play as well. We got behind and they just blasted everything away. We didn’t have a chance. They were really good, we weren’t and that was the difference.”

In a later draw at 7 p.m. (CT) today, Canada’s Jones opens her tournament thrust against rookie Cecilia Ostlund of Sweden and Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher takes on Linn Githmark of Norway.  Returning for second matches, the U.S. plays Japan and Russia goes against Latvia.