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Canada opens Ford World Women’s Curling Championship with a bang

It would appear that Jennifer Jones and her Team Canada came to the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in peak form.

Canada burst out of the gate with four in the first end by capitalizing on near-misses by the Czech Republic and rolling to a 11-5 win in the opening draw of the round-robin Saturday at the Memorial Centre.

Sitting two after Czech skip Anna Kubešková just missed with two attempted runbacks, Jones executed a last-rock split to get the two extra points. Her final stone rubbed a Czech guard but not enough to prevent the stone from bouncing another Canadian stone out front into the house and her shooter also slid in.

“It worked out perfect,” Jones said of the shot. “It’s a great way to start. We had so much fun out there, the crowd was amazing, we made some good shots.”

“It was a tough start with all the crowd cheering against us,” said Kubešková. “It’s always tough to start against the home team. It’s a nervous start and against such a great team it’s even more difficult for us. After such an end we’re down and means we’re probably going to lose, so we wanted to get as much out of the game to help us in following games.”

Canada stole two in the second when Kubešková’s final draw was heavy but Kubešková, backed by third Alžběta Baudyšová, second Tereza Plíšková, lead Klára Svatoňová, alternate Ezhen Kolchevskai and coach Karel Kubeška put a brief scare into Canada by scoring three in the third.

“It was suddenly much better, but it is tough to start with such down points,” said Kubešková. “It was kind of (we’re) breathing but not enough, unfortunately.”

South Korean skip Eunjung Kim watches her shot on Saturday. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Not panicking, Jones, third Kaithlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer, lead Dawn McEwen, alternate Shannon Birchard, who replaced Lawes after the fifth end, and coaches Bryan Cochrane and Elaine Dagg-Jackson, came right back with four more and a 10-3 lead.

In another game on the opening draw, the “Garlic Girls” from South Korea, skipped by EunJung Kim, had their hands full early against Team Germany. But the Olympic silver medallists popped a four in the fifth end to break a 2-2 tie and stole two in the sixth to end the game with an 8-3 verdict.

In the other games 2014 and 2016 world champion Binia Feltscher and her Team Switzerland gave up three in the fifth end and ultimately lost 6-5 to Yilun Jiang and Team China. Jiang made a last-rock draw in the 10th to secure the win.

“I had a pick with my first (stone) so they had the opportunity to sit two,” Swiss third Irene Schori said of the fifth end. “Then Binia missed it on the wrong side. Stuff happens. It was tough out there, the ice was very tricky.”

Canada and Switzerland will meet in tonight’s 7 p.m. draw that will also see Team Sweden, the reigning Olympic gold medallists skipped by Anna Hasselborg, play its first game, against Denmark.

The 2018 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship continues with the second draw tonight at 7 p.m. ET.

Live scoring, standings and statistics for the 2018 Ford World Women’s are available at www.worldcurling.org/wwcc2018/livescores

TSN and RDS2 will provide complete coverage of Canada’s games at the 2018 Ford World Women’s. Go to www.tsn.ca/2017-18-curling-broadcast-schedule-1.593081 for the complete schedule.

For ticket information for the 2018 Ford World Women’s, go to www.curling.ca/2018worldwomen/tickets/

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at www.curling.ca/2018worldwomen/?lang=fr