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Swiss playing for gold again at Ford Worlds

SWIFT CURRENT — Switzerland is one win away from winning its fourth Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in five years.

Binia Feltscher and her 2014 world championship team had a battle for six ends with Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa on Friday night at the Credit Union iplex. Then, Switzerland scored three in the seventh and two in the ninth for an 8-4 win and a spot in Sunday’s final.

Switzerland will play against Japan, Canada or Russia in the 3 p.m. MDT final at the Credit Union iplex. Canada’s Chelsea Carey and Russia’s Anna Sidorova meet Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Page 3-4 game. The winner will play Japan on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the semifinal. The loser of the Canada-Russia game drops to the bronze-medal game Sunday at 10 a.m.

In addition to Feltscher’s world championship in 2014, Mirjam Ott won in 2012 at Lethbridge, Alta., and Alina Pätz won last year in Sapporo, Japan. Eve Muirhead of Scotland grabbed the 2013 championship in Riga, Latvia.

Switzerland and Japan finished the round-robin this week at 9-2. Switzerland had the all-important hammer in the first end of the 1-2 game based on its 7-4 victory over Japan early in the week.

“It is awesome, we are very, very happy,” Swiss third Irene Schori said after the game. “We stayed very calm . . . we knew we had to play a good game to beat this very good Japanese team. And I think they were maybe a little bit nervous. We were there two years ago, so we know exactly how it feels. Maybe that was our advantage.”

She said experience is a huge factor in the playoffs.

“For sure it pays off. We know how it feels playing in an arena like this and everyone is watching you.”

A date with curling history will have to wait at least one more day for Japan. The country has never won a medal in world women’s play.

Japanese skip Satsuki Fujisawa calls instructions to her sweepers Friday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Japanese skip Satsuki Fujisawa calls instructions to her sweepers Friday night. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

In the game Friday, Feltscher made a quiet takeout to get her single. The Swiss team stole one on the second end when Fujisawa came up inches short on a draw to the eight-foot. Draw weight was a problem for the Japanese team all night is it adjusted to being in the lone game on the ice, which always changes ice conditions.

Japan got its first point of the night in the third end when Fujisawa executed a quiet tap back, while facing three Swiss stones. The teams traded singles in ends four and five, and Japan stole one in the sixth to tie the game at 3-3.

Feltscher capitalized on misses from Fujisawa and third Chinami Yoshida to count three on the seventh. Yoshida was heavy on a draw and Fujisawa was light on one, leaving Feltscher with a draw for three.

After Japan got one in the eighth, Feltscher made a double with her first rock in the ninth, leaving her shot rock guarded at the top of the four-foot. When Fujisawa wrecked on the guard, Feltscher had an open draw for two, an 8-4 lead and the win.

“Being their first game at this magnitude was obviously difficult, but I think they can learn a lot from this and be ready tomorrow,” said J.D. Lind, coach of the Japanese team. “It was tough out there with only one game, the ice was a little tricky, but I think by tomorrow we should be ready to go.”

Other members of the Swiss team are second Franziska Kaufmann, lead Christine Urech, alternate Carole Howald and coach Al Moore. Second Yumi Suzuki, lead Yurika Yoshida and alternate Mari Motohashi are the other members of the Japanese team.

This year’s Ford World Women’s Curling Championship is presented by Meridian Manufacturing.

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

For the complete results, standings, the schedule and much more, visit 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.