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Big night for Scotland, Italy at 2016 Ford Worlds

SWIFT CURRENT — Since Scotland’s loss to Sweden in its first game at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, the teams have gone in opposite directions.

Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson hasn’t won since and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead hasn’t lost.

Muirhead won her sixth consecutive game, with a 5-4 over Finland’s Oona Kauste (1-6) on Tuesday night at the Credit Union iplex. The victory moved Scotland into a three-way tie — at 6-1 —for top spot with Canada’s Chelsea Carey and Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher. Canada and Switzerland had a well-deserved night off.

Sitting right behind the leaders are Russia’s Anna Sikorova and Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa at 5-2. Sidorova defeated South Korea’s Ji Sun Kim (2-5) 9-1, while Fujisawa downed Sigfridsson (1-6) 7-4.

In the other evening game, Italy’s Federica Apollonio got her first victory of the week, much to the crowd’s delight. The win came at the expense of Germany’s Daniela Driendl (3-4).

Italy’s win was about as popular as a win as could be in a game not including Canada. When the teams shook hands, fans started chanting, “Italy, Italy, Italy.” There were a couple of Italy’s flags being waved.

“Finally we won something,” said Italian second Chiara Olivieri with a big smile. She said the chant at the end of the game was “awesome.”

Scottish skip Eve Muirhead won her sixth straight game on Tuesday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Scottish skip Eve Muirhead won her sixth straight game on Tuesday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Unlike some teams here, the Italians aren’t full-time curlers. The roster includes two waitresses, a secretary, a pastry chef and a chef. There are 10 sheets of ice in the whole country. They have been competitive in many games, including being tied with Canada after nine ends earlier in the day.

Canadian skip Chelsea Carey said she was impressed with the Italians’ hitting game after their wide-open affair in the afternoon.

Members of the team are Apollonio, third Stephanie Menardi, Olivieri, lead Marcia Gaspari , alternate Claudia Alvera and coach Brian Gray. Three of the players are under the age of 25.

With Muirhead’s win, there are five teams at least two games clear of the field. Will four of these five be the playoff teams or will the four teams with four losses be brought back into play? The top teams will bang heads a bunch of times in the next two days. No one has a tougher schedule than Muirhead.

She faces Russia and Switzerland Wednesday, and closes with Japan and Canada on Thursday. Those four teams, with Muirhead, make up the top five.

“We take each game one at a time and so far it’s going good. And we have to keep that going tomorrow. We have Russia and Switzerland and they are teams that compete in the European championships and all year on the tour. We know they are really good.”

Muirhead’s game against Finland was a battle. Muirhead got down two early and fought her way back. She made a hit facing four in the eighth end to get in front 5-4. Finland got one in the ninth to tie things up. Muirhead had to draw the eight-foot, facing two, to secure the win.

Team Japan's Yumi Suzuki, left, and Yurika Yoshida celebrate a big shot on Tuesday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Team Japan’s Chinami Yoshida, left, and Yurika Yoshida celebrate a big shot on Tuesday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Muirhead said it was a grind, but was happy to put two wins on the board Tuesday and is now looking forward to the next two days.

Muirhead is supported by third Anna Sloan, second Vicki Adams, lead Sarah Reid, alternate Rachel Hannen and coach David Hay.

In addition to Canada and Switzerland, Erika Brown of the United States (3-4) and Denmark’s Lene Nielsen (3-4) had byes on Tuesday’s late draw.

Action resumes at 9 a.m. MDT at the Credit Union iplex. There are also draws at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Canada plays at 2 p.m. against South Korea and at 7 p.m. against Finland.

For ticket and other event information, visit http://www.curling.ca/2016worldwomen/tickets/

For the complete results, standings, the schedule and much more, visit to http://www.curling.ca/2016worldwomen/

This story will be posted in French as soon as possible at http://www.curling.ca/2016worldwomen/?lang=fr

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the 2016 Ford Worlds.