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Last-rock draw gives Russia bronze medal at Ford World Women’s Curling Championship

NORTH BAY, Ont. – Russia’s Victoria Moiseeva drew to the four-foot with her final stone to score two in the 10th end and claim the bronze medal at the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship Sunday with a 6-5 victory over Jamie Sinclair of the United States.

Sinclair, who was excellent with her draws all week, was heavy with her final draw, sliding to the back of the house and opening the door for Moiseeva and her Russian teammates to take the win.

“It feels, wow . . . I don’t have enough English words to describe that,” Moiseeva said after the hard-fought, emotionally draining game that saw five lead changes. “All week it was ups and downs, so that’s why it’s so special for us to have a medal.”

The gold-medal game at 3 p.m. Eastern features the pre-tournament favourites and past Olympic gold medallists — Jennifer Jones of Canada, the 2008 world and 2014 Olympic champion, and Anna Hasselborg of Sweden, the 2018 Olympic champion.

It’s the fourth straight year Russia has medalled at the event, with three bronzes and last year’s silver. The medal came in an event that Moiseeva, vice-skip Julia Portunova, second Galina Arsenkina, lead Julia Guzieva, alternate Anna Sidorova and coaches Sergei Belanov and Irina Kolesnikova had kind of forgotten about because of the Winter Olympics.

“We kind of forgot about the worlds because there were more things, tough things, to think about,” she said. “So when we came here we were not at our emotional highest level. But when it all started we realized as a team we could play really good and it was like a new life started when we came here.”

For Sinclair, it was a difficult loss for a young team that didn’t know it was even going to the worlds until a week before the event started.  And she admitted, it was an emotional ending to a long, tough week for her team.

“I do love those games,” she said of the bronze-medal final that saw both teams digging into their creative playbooks to try to out-guess each other. “But it’s been such a long week that I’m pretty mentally burned out. I’ve never played in an event this long and this gruelling.”

Team U.S.A. vice-skip Alex Carlson, left, and skip Jamie Sinclair discuss shot options during the bronze-medal game. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The U.S. jumped on a missed double attempt by Russia to steal one in the second, but Moiseeva’s team countered with two in the third. Russia hid shot rock behind a U.S. guard early and then got the Americans chasing second shot on the edges of the 12-foot, ultimately leaving Moiseeva an easy draw for the deuce.

Going into the house early, Russia kept the pressure on and forced the U.S to draw the button for one in the fifth.

But Sinclair, backed by vice-skip Alex Carlson, second Vicky Persinger, lead Monica Walker, alternate Jenna Martin, team coach Scott Baird and and national coach Derek Brown promptly stole one in six when Moiseeva was light with an attempted freeze shot.

The teams traded deuces in the eighth and ninth – Sinclair making a pressure draw to the edge of the button for her two in nine – before the medal-deciding final end.

“That I have real good draw weight, I have no doubt I’m going to make this,” Sinclair said of her mindset before he final stone. “I thought it was a touch heavy out of my hand, but I knew I could be back four-foot, but it just kept gliding.”

The U.S. was one of three teams that finished the round-robin at 6-6 and got a playoff spot by virtue of the tiebreaking format, and then beat Olympic silver-medallist EunJung Kim of South Korea 10-3 in the quarter-final. They lost a tight 9-7 decision to Canada in the semifinal on Saturday night.

Russia finished fourth in the round-robin at 7-5 and beat Anna Kubešková of the Czech Republic 7-3 in the quarter-finals before losing 7-6 to Sweden in their semifinal.

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.

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