Slow start hurts Canada in 1-2 Page playoff
China hangs on for 7-5 win, advances to final at women's curling worlds
Canadian skip Jennifer Jones will have to solve surging Japanese counterpart Moe Meguro to get another crack at China's Bingyu Wang at the world women's curling championship.
Jones failed to overcome a 4-0 deficit to Wang after four ends in Friday night's 1-2 Page playoff game in Vernon, B.C., dropping a 7-5 decision.
As a result, Jones and company must beat the Japanese in Saturday's semifinal (CBC, 2:30 p.m. ET) to advance to Sunday's championship final against China (CBC, 1:30 p.m. ET).
In Wednesday's 12th draw, Jones scored three in the 11th end to pull out a 7-4 win over Meguro.
But Japan hasn't lost since, winning five straight and six of seven following an inauspicious start at the worlds.
Meguro reached the semifinal by beating Mirjam Ott of Switzerland 6-4 in the 3-4 Page playoff game on Friday afternoon. Ott will face the semifinal loser in the bronze-medal game at 9 p.m. ET Saturday.
Like Canada's 9-7 round-robin loss to China, where Jones missed a wide-open draw for the win, Friday's match wasn't decided until the 10th and final end.
Wang struggled for most of the second half, but it was her sensational tapback to the button in the ninth end that limited Canada to one point when a steal of three appeared likely. The single meant that China still had a two-point advantage entering the 10th.
Wang said her team was prepared for the worst prior to her final shot of the ninth.
"Before the [shot], we thought about giving them three," said Wang. "It doesn't matter, it'll be a tie game, and we'll have the hammer, so just take it easy and try it. And I got it."
For the second time in four days, Wang was incredulous at having beaten the Canadians.
"I'm so surprised, I don't know how to say it," said Wang. "I'm so happy."
The teams finished with identical 9-2 records in the round-robin, and sat first and second in team percentage.
The Canadians continued their tradition of getting behind in games — something they had done all tournament long.
This time, they couldn't recover.
"We haven't been starting very well," said Jones. "I thought we finished strong. We get to start with the hammer [against Japan], which we like. We'll come out strong."
Japan will at least match its previous best world result — a fourth-place finish at the 1997 playdowns in Bern, Switzerland.
In the 3-4 Page playoff, Meguro scored one in the 10th end to avenge a 9-6 loss to Switzerland earlier in the week. Japan had downed Denmark 7-3 in the tiebreaker Friday morning.
Meguro took control against the Swiss on Friday with steals in the fourth and fifth ends to take a 4-1 lead. In the sixth, Ott missed an attempted raise takeout to give Meguro her third consecutive steal of one.
With files from the Canadian Press