It wasn’t exactly Swiss clockwork, or even the workings of a fine timepiece, but Mirjam Ott and her Davos team from Switzerland have earned a reprise in the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship final against Sweden.
Ott, who has been banging heads with the best at curling’s international level since 1997 when she was 2-7 in her first Worlds appearance, outpointed upstart Korea 9-6 on Saturday night in the championship semi-final match at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge.
The win moves the Swiss back for a shot at revenge against Sweden, a team that knocked off the squad from the land of the White Cross in the Page One-Two playoff.
It will be the first World final for Ott and her veteran team of Carmen Schaefer, Carmen Kueng and Janine Greiner from Alpineland.
Korea, meanwhile, tumbled into this morning’s bronze-medal skirmish against Canada, a team the Koreans defeated earlier Saturday.(Continued Below…)
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Unlike that game, which featured a dearth of offence, the semi was a wide-open affair with the Swiss striking for two in the first end and Korea answering with three in the second.
“In the beginning I wasn’t that nervous,” said Ott, who is playing in her sixth world championship and has two Olympic silver medals to her credit. “I just didn’t perform like I can. But my team kept fighting and I was really happy because they kept us in the game.”
The Swiss tied the issue in the fourth end, then stole in front by two in the sixth when Korean skip Ji-Sun Kim watched her last-rock raised rock slide through the four-foot ring between two Swiss counters.
Korea then came back with a single and stole two of their own when Ott was short on a come-around draw, attempting to reduce the damage to one enemy stone in the eighth end.
Again, however, the Swiss rebounded. Kim rolled out on a critical hit in the ninth and Ott was gifted a free draw for three.
“That was the bad point for us,” offered Kim afterward. “Overall, we played really well but near the end it got a little tricky. When I rolled out on the takeout in the ninth end, it was the disappointing shot.”
Kim had a difficult raise takeout attempt to score a tying deuce in the 10th but the Swiss counter remained for the verdict.
“It was a really crazy game,” said Ott, who owns one bronze medal for five previous World appearances.
“Up and down, and we were lucky that we won. We had to fight back twice. I didn’t know how it was going to go. (Continued below…)
“We just knew that we were going to have to believe in our team. We had some misses but then Korea didn’t play as well as they did when we played them in the round robin. We knew that anything could happen in that kind of game.”
Ott expects another tight confrontation with Sweden today.
“It will be a good game,” she said. “I hope so. We will have to play good curling. We know this team very well. We know how they play and we know that their spirit is strong.
“Right now we are just lucky to be in the final. Tomorrow we will plan how we are going to play against them.”
Ott wasn’t about to divulge any secrets on that score.
“I’m not going to tell you about that,” she said with a wide grin.
“It’s another three hours of curling and we don’t know what will happen. We don’t think too much about that. We just think about curling.”
It seems strange that this will be Ott’s first global final. She has been competing at this level for more than 15 years.
“Playing in a final in Canada at the Worlds is the best,” she said.
“But I’m happy this is only the second Worlds we’ve played in Canada and the second time we got a medal so I like playing in Canada more than anywhere else.
“It would be great to do this for Switzerland and Swiss curling but we’re going to do this for ourselves. I don’t feel any pressure to do it for my country.
“We were just as excited when we won the Swiss championship and knew that we would be coming here.”
Why the Canadian magnetism?
“It’s just ice conditions, an arena, a really good crowd. It’s great. Even if you play against Canada and the people are cheering for Canada, all the athletes still love playing here.”
Kim, playing with Seul-Bee Lee, Mi-Sung Shin and Un-Chi Gim, said her team “will do our best to win a bronze medal”.
“It is very disappointing to lose but it is only a second Worlds experience for me and it is very satisfying to be here.”