Kerri Einarson and Team Canada (Photo: WCF/Jeffery AU) secured a 6-4 victory over Satsuki Fujisawa's Team Japan in the playoff qualification game at the 2023 World Women's Curling Championship on Saturday morning, securing the Canadians a spot in the semifinals.
By: Dylan Chenier
Canada's Kerri Einarson booked her spot in the semifinals at the 2023 World Women's Curling Championship on Saturday morning, as the 2022 bronze medalist secured a 6-4 victory over Satsuki Fujisawa and Team Japan in a playoff qualification game in Sandviken, Sweden.
After starting with the hammer, Einarson would attempt a long angle raise for three on her last shot in the first end. Unfortunately, the skip would be forced to settle for just one, putting Canada up 1-0 early on. Japan would answer right back with a score of one in the second end.
After a blank in the third, Canada would attempt a double for three in the fourth, with Einarson's shot failing to remove both Japanese stones, giving Fujisawa a steal of one. The Canadians would leave more points on the board in five, with Einarson's attempt at a hit and stick rolling too far, forcing the rink to settle for one. Heading into the break, the game was tied 2-2.
Coming back in six, Canada would steal one, putting Einarson's rink up 3-2. The Japanese would answer right back in seven with a single, tying the game at three points apiece.
The eighth end would see Canada forced to settle for one, with Einarson making a draw to the four-foot to score her single. Japan would opt for the blank in nine, after which Fujisawa was able to score one in ten, forcing the game into an extra end with the two teams tied at three.
A perfect freeze by Einarson on her first shot in the 11th would make it difficult for Fujisawa to clear the Canadian stones on her last throw, allowing Canada to score two for the win. With the victory, Team Canada now advances to the semifinals where the rink will face Marianne Roervik and Team Norway at 4:00 p.m. CET (11:00 a.m. ET)
"We just held in there, we had some opportunities. In the fourth end, I had that double for three, and I thought and I had the hit made, [then] all of a sudden at the top of the house, it didn't even hit it... So, just a little bit of confusion on a couple of shots, but we definitely made them when we really needed to," Einarson said of her team's performance.
Heading into Saturday's semifinal, the Canadian skip will be looking for her second consecutive victory against Roervik, after Canada defeated the Norwegians 9-6 in Draw 5 of this year's world championship. In two previous trips to women's worlds, Einarson has qualified for the semifinals on one occasion, losing to South Korea at last year's tournament in Prince George.
The other qualification game on the ice Saturday morning saw hosts Anna Hasselborg and Team Sweden narrowly get by Stefania Constantini's Team Italy, with the 2018 Olympic gold medalist taking the win 4-3. Sweden will advance to face Silvana Tirinzoni and Team Switzerland in the other semifinal on Saturday afternoon.
The 2023 World Women's Curling Championship continues Saturday afternoon in Sandviken, with the semifinals set for 4:00 p.m. CET (11:00 a.m. ET). The game between Canada and Norway will be broadcast live on TSN 1.
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