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Italy topples Russia at Ford World Women’s Championship

NORTH BAY, Ont. — As it stands, Diana Gaspari’s Italian team is in the playoff picture at the 2018 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship.

Diana Gaspari’s Italian team picked up its second victory of the 2019 Ford Worlds on Monday morning. (Photo, World Curling Federation/Jeffrey Au)

But after knocking Russia’s Victoria Moiseeva (3-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten on Monday morning at the North Bay Memorial Gardens with a 6-5 victory, Gaspari is refusing to look to the possibility of her country reaching the playoffs at the World Women’s Championship for the first time ever.

“We have really short-term goals, for each game because of the type of team we are,” said Gaspari, who’s skipping in her 11th world women’s championship. “We want to improve our record from last year; that is our first goal. Then we will see what happens.”

A year ago in Beijing, Gaspari skipped Italy to a 3-8 record. But with Monday morning’s win, Gaspari, third Veronica Zappone, second/vice-skip Stefania Constantini, lead Angela Romei, alternate Chiara Olivieri and coach Violetta Caldart are 2-2 and on pace to grab one of the six available playoff berths in the expanded 13-team format.

“We’re happy to have two wins in four games,” said Gaspari. “We know that we’re a middle-ranking team; we could lose all of the games easily. So we really need to fight on the ice. We’re not so used to this (level of) competition, so we’re happy with every win we have.”

Sweden’s Sara McManus, left, and Anna Hasselborg had reason to smile on Monday morning. (Photo, World Curling Federation/Jeffrey Au)

The Italians were down 4-1 through four ends after Russia cracked a deuce in the third end and stole two more in the fourth. But Italy turned the tide by scoring four in the fifth end. It was a tight finish, but Gaspari was able to remove a partially buried Russian stone for the victory in the 10th end.

“I was shaking a bit, especially the last takeout,” she said with a smile. “This ice is really sensitive to releases, so you really need to focus on technique and have a clean release.”

In the only other game on Monday morning, Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg improved to 4-0 with a 6-4 win over Jamie Sinclair of the U.S. (2-2).

Canada’s Jennifer Jones (3-0), South Korea’s EunJung Kim (3-0), Japan’s Tori Koana (2-1), China’s Yilun Jiang (1-2), Anna Kubešková of the Czech Republic (1-2), Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher (1-3), Denmark’s Angelina Jensen (0-3), Germany’s Daniela Jentsch (0-3) and Scotland’s Hannah Fleming (0-3) all had byes on Monday morning.

The 2018 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship continues with draws Monday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times 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