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Sweden edges Canada, 5-4 to claim top spot at Capital One World Women’s

Sweden’s Anette Norberg has claimed first place at the Capital One World Women’s Curling Championship in Esbjerg, Denmark, edging Canada’s Amber Holland, 5-4 in a last-rock battle Wednesday evening.

Photo: World Curling Federation

The result meant that Sweden, now 8-1 and on an eight-game win streak after dropping its opener to Norway, has clinched top spot in the round robin, although it still has two games to play on Thursday.

Sweden holds any tiebreaker advantage over its closest pursuers – China, Denmark and Russia, each at 6-3, since it has defeated them all. Ironically, those three play each other on Thursday.

It was a difficult loss for Canada, which had opened a 2-0 lead in the second end and held a 3-2 edge after five ends. But two-time Olympic gold medallist Norberg responded, counting one in the sixth, then a momentum-changing steal in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead.

Holland countered with one in the eighth, but after the ninth was blanked, Norberg was able to count one with her final stone in the 10th end to secure the win. While the team shooting percentages were close (Sweden held a 75%-73% edge), there was a noticeable difference at skip, as Norberg fired 82% to Holland’s 69%.

“My play is getting better, (although) I’m not satisfied yet,” said Norberg. “But it’s getting better and usually I get a little bit better when I go into the playoffs. I hope it will be the same this time. We were in control in the second half, but we struggled a bit in the first half.”

Thus, Canada’s four game winning streak came to a halt, as Holland’s Kronau Curling Club crew dropped into a tie for fifth at 5-4 with Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott. Canada plays Korea and Germany (live on TSN at 9:00 am ET) on Thursday to conclude the round robin, so two victories will guarantee at least a tiebreaker.

“We didn’t play as sharp as we could,” said Holland. “We let them have some opportunities, so that’s the difference. They’re beatable. Everybody’s beatable. It depends on the day and the ice and the rocks. We definitely had control of that game and we just let it slip away. It was the middle ends where we lost control. You know that four losses is max – you don’t want to go beyond that.”

Meanwhile, host Denmark, skipped by Lene Nielsen, continued its hot streak, destroying Scotland’s Anna Sloan, 12-5 to move into a tie for second at 6-3, with idle Russia and China (Bingyu Wang), which edged Norway, 6-4. The other Draw 14 game saw Germany’s defending world champion Andrea Schöpp beat Czech Republic, 7-3.

Following the conclusion of the round robin on Thursday, any required tiebreakers plus a Page Playoff game (1 vs 2 or 3 vs 4) will be held on Friday. The other Page game, along with the semi-final, will be held Saturday, with the bronze and gold medal games slated for Sunday, March 27.