Edmonton's Kevin Martin is down — but not out — at the world men's curling championship in Moncton, N.B.
Martin, the defending world champion, dropped a 7-5 decision to Scotland's David Murdoch in the one-versus-two playoff contest Friday night.
Murdoch advances directly to Sunday night's final, while Martin gets a second chance in a sudden death semifinal Saturday afternoon versus the winner of the three-versus-four playoff match.
It was Murdoch's second consecutive victory over Martin in Moncton, having posted a dramatic 6-5 extra-end triumph Thursday night in the final draw of the round robin.
Martin finished in first place in the round robin with a 10-1 record. Murdoch was second at 8-3.
On Friday night, Martin was held to a single point in the first end and gave up three in the third and a steal in the fourth to fall behind 4-1.
"It was tough sledding," said Martin.
"They put more pressure on us than we put on them and it was just hard to make good shots so hats off to them. They made us make more tough ones and it was just hard to do that."
Despite suffering two consecutive losses, Martin expects to rebound in the semifinal.
"It's fine. I'm a pretty positive thinker and we're throwing it pretty good so we'll give her both barrels and see what happens," Martin said.
Murdoch, who won the world championship in 2006, was pleased with his rink's effort.
"I think we were on top for most of the game so you've got to be happy with that," Murdoch said.
The Scottish skip expects to meet Martin again for the gold medal.
"Hopefully we'll get a rematch on Sunday. I know they want the rematch and they're great champions," he added. "Those guys are still an amazing team and they put the rocks in some real nasty places."
Norway's Thomas Ulsrud and Ralph Stoeckli of Switzerland square off in the three-versus-four game Saturday morning.
Ulsrud defeated American John Shuster 10-2, while Stoeckli scored three in the seventh end to edge Germany's Andy Kapp 8-7, in their respective tiebreakers earlier on Friday to clinch the final two playoff spots.
"This is Team Norway for you — you never know what you're going to get — you can get mediocre or you can get like today where the whole team made everything," joked Ulsrud.