Martin loses marquee matchup at curling worlds
Edmonton's Kevin Martin experienced a couple of firsts Thursday in the final draw of the round robin at the world men's curling championship in Moncton, N.B.
Heading into the evening showdown with Scotland's David Murdoch, Martin hadn't lost in the tournament and hadn't even been forced to play a complete 10 ends.
But Murdoch proved Martin is mortal after all, upsetting him 6-5 in an extra end in the 17th draw at the Moncton Coliseum.
"Well, at least you won't be asking me questions about being undefeated," Martin chuckled. "I never like to lose a game, that is for sure, but they earned it and played good."
Murdoch broke open the entertaining battle with a double takeout for three in the eighth end.
"We were pretty focused on trying to play a good game and these guys haven't had a tough game all week, so it was good that we came out and played one of our better games," he said.
Martin, the defending champion, rallied to erase a 5-3 deficit with one in the ninth and a steal of one in the 10th before Murdoch tallied the decisive point in the 11th.
With the win, Murdoch (8-3) clinched second place behind Martin (10-1), setting up a rematch in the 1-2 Page Playoff on Friday night (6:30 p.m. AT).
"It was a big game for us," Murdoch said. "We didn't want to rely on other teams because, if things went wrong for us, we were looking at the 3-4 game."
"We know we're going to have to play extremely well again. Those guys are a really tough team."
"I don't think I will have much trouble bouncing back from that one," Martin figured. "Our goal was to get first place and to get the hammer.
"We got that and we come out in the 1-2 game — with hammer — and do our best."
'We're still alive'
Two tiebreakers will be played to determine the third and fourth playoff seeds.
Norway's Thomas Ulsrud meets John Shuster of the United States in one tiebreaker, while Germany's Andy Kapp takes on Ralph Stoeckli of Switzerland in the other.
All four contenders completed the round robin with 7-4 records, with Kapp, Shuster and Stoeckli pulling out clutch wins in the final draw of the round robin.
Kapp knocked off Japan's Yusuke Morozumi 5-3, while Stoeckli fended off China's Fengchun Wang 5-4.
"It is only a tiebreaker, but we're still alive," Stoeckli said. "We still have to win a game to make the playoffs, but it is nice to still be in and to have another chance."
Shuster looked to be headed for a loss when he caught fire late, counting singles in the eighth and ninth and four in the 10th to nip Thomas Dufour of France 9-6.
"The guys played a perfect 10th for us," Shuster said. "I feel we got another [win] that we didn't necessarily deserve."
The winner of the 1-2 Page playoff advances to the championship final, while the loser must challenge the winner of the 3-4 Page playoff in a semifinal game.
With files from the Canadian Press