Martin, Jones win openers at Players' Championship
Reigning Canadian champions Jennifer Jones and Kevin Martin posted wins Tuesday in the Grey Power Players' Championship at Grande Prairie, Alta.
Jones, from Winnipeg, defeated Calgary's Heather Rankin 7-6 on a draw to the four-foot in an extra end.
Renee Sonnenberg, throwing skip rock for Rankin's rink, scored a deuce in the eighth to tie it at 6-6.
"We weren't as sharp as we would like to be," Jones said. "We made all the big shots when we had to and got the 'W' out of it."
Martin, fresh off last week's silver medal effort at world men's curling championship in Moncton, N.B., pummelled Pat Simmons of Davidson, Sask., 9-3 in four ends.
The Edmonton skip opened with six points in the first end.
"This is my favourite event," Martin said of the triple-knockout tournament, being held at the Crystal Centre.
"For me, it has always been, since I was a kid, the best playing the best. I love that."
"At the Players' Championship, the only way you get in is through ranking," he continued. "There is no other way.
"That is why I like it so much. Every game is against a top team.
"There are generally no easy ones. But Pat just had trouble tonight."
Cheryl Bernard, a Grande Prairie native now residing in Calgary, beat Winnipeg's Barb Spencer 9-7.
"They played a good game out there", Bernard said. "When you have got swingy ice, you always can come back.
"I think teams know that. Nobody ever gives up."
Also Tuesday, former world champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C., slipped past Edmonton's Cathy King 7-5.
Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon prevailed 8-6 over Ottawa's Rachel Homan.
Michelle Englot of Regina outlasted Calgary's Crystal Webster 11-7.
And Calgary's Shannon Kleibrink erased 3-1 and 5-4 deficits to shade Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., 7-6 in an extra end.
"It took us a few ends to adjust to the ice since it was swinging more than we're used to," Kleibrink said. "We were throwing well, but I wasn't putting the broom in the right place for at least the first half."
Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., cruised to a 6-0 triumph over Vancouver's Marla Mallett, as did Amber Holland of Regina over Marie-France Larouche out of Quebec City.
Edmonton's Kevin Koe edged Mike McEwen of Winnipeg 6-5.
The $170,000 Players' Championship is the final event in the Grand Slam of Curling, with the top men's and women's rinks awarded $50,000 in prize money.
Bold and CBCSports.ca will provide live coverage of Saturday's men's quarter-finals (6:30 p.m. ET) and semifinals (10 p.m. ET).
CBC Sports and CBCSports.ca will broadcast the women's final on Saturday (3 p.m. ET) and the men's final on Sunday (12 p.m. ET).
With files from The Canadian Press