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Now it gets serious at Ford World Women’s Curling Championship

NORTH BAY, Ont. — The round-robin is done and now things really turn serious at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship. The last of the qualifying teams – Anna Kubešková’s Czech Republic team – was declared in Friday’s final draw and now six teams, including Jennifer Jones of Canada, have two days to determine this year’s champion.

Jones and Team Canada finished the round-robin unbeaten at 12-0 after a win over Jamie Sinclair of the United States Friday. Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer, lead Dawn McEwen, alternate Shannon Birchard and coaches Wendy Morgan and Elaine Dagg-Jackson claimed the No. 1 position and will play in Saturday evening’s semifinal at 7 p.m.

As the top-seeded team, Canada will have last rock to begin the semifinal.

“That’s huge, to have hammer,” Birchard said earlier in the day.

The Jones team, who stretched a world championship unbeaten streak for Canada to a record 25 games (including the 13 wins posted by Team Homan en route to gold last year in Beijing),  also gets to sleep in, which Jones said isn’t that big of a benefit.

“I don’t think it’s really an advantage,” she said. “It’s nice to have a little bit of sleep-in, but it’s also great to be on the ice and get used to the ice conditions.”

Olympic gold-medallist Anna Hasselborg of Sweden dropped an 8-5 decision to Scotland in her final game Friday afternoon but finished at 10-2 to claim second place and a bye into the 2 p.m. semifinal.

Canada will play the lowest-ranked winner from the quarter-finals at 7 p.m. while the Swedes will play the higher-ranked quarter-final winner at 2 p.m.

Olympic silver-medallist EunJung Kim of South Korea (8-4), Victoria Moiseeva of Russia (7-5), Sinclair (6-6) and Kubešková (6-6) will play in Saturday morning’s quarter-final matches at 9 a.m. South Korea will play the U.S. and Russia will play the Czech Republic.

Jennifer Jones celebrates her shot for three in the second end against the U.S>

“We have a good mood on our team,” Czech vice-skip Alžběta Baudyšová said. “We looked at this as two separate tournaments. The goal of this tournament was to to get to the playoffs and then it’s a different tournament, everyone starts from zero. There’s more pressure but you are more (determined) to win.”

The Czechs played without Kubešková in their final game but are hoping she will ready Saturday.

Playing in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,887 in the Memorial Gardens, Jones and company scored three in the second end on a crowd-erupting triple through a port by Jones and three more in eight after the U.S. had pulled even at 4-4.

“We’re definitely gearing up for the playoffs,” said Jones. “You always have to turn it up a notch, so we’ll have to play a little bit better tomorrow. We know everyone will bring their best game and we’ll have to be as sharp as we can to have the opportunity to play in the final.”

In the other evening games Russia bounced back from a devasting afternoon loss to score a 10-5 win over Angelina Jensen of Denmark (3-9), Hannah Fleming of Scotland (5-7) scored one in the 11th to beat South Korea 6-5 and Yilun Jiang of China (6-6) had a 7-6 win over Daniela Jentsch of Germany (3-9).

For Moiseeva and her teammates the win washed away the sour taste of their 8-7 loss to South Korea in which they allowed Kim’s team to steal five points in the final four ends to win 8-7 in an extra end.

“Now we just need to go to the hotel, have a good sleep and wake up to a new day,” Moiseeva said of getting ready for the playoffs. “It’s a completely new thing, it’s not the round-robin, it’s playoffs, it’s win or (go home) so we need to be focused like we never been before.”

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