June 21st, 2024

Homan advances to semis at Players’ Championship with 6-5 win over Fujisawa

By The Canadian Press on April 12, 2024.

Canada skip Rachel Homan delivers a stone in World Women's Curling Championship action against Estonia in Sydney, N.S. on Thursday, March 21, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Ottawa’s Rachel Homan locked up top spot in the women’s standings and a berth in the semifinals at the Grand Slam of Curling Players’ Championship with a 6-5 win over Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa in Friday’s second draw.

Homan finished the round robin at the season-ending tournament a perfect 5-0, but needed an extra end to beat Fujisawa (1-4).

The Japanese skip entered the match already eliminated from playoff contention, but gave the reigning women’s world champion a tough match.

She took a 4-3 lead with three points in the sixth, and sent the game to an extra end with one in the eighth after Homan went up 5-4 with two in the seventh.

Swiss skip Silvana Tirinzoni had a chance to lock up a top-two finish and earn a semifinal spot but lost 11-9 to South Korea’s Gim Eun-ji.

Gim and Tirinzoni finished the round robin at 4-1 and qualified for the playoffs, but Tirinzoni can finish no higher than third because Gim had a superior score in the shootout tiebreaker.

A team’s cumulative shootout score comes from pre-game draws to the button to determine which team gets hammer.

The top six teams in each competition qualify for the playoffs.

In other Draw 13 results, Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher finished the round-robin at 2-3 with a convincing 8-2 win over world men’s silver medallist Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L. (3-2).

Italy’s Joel Retornaz edged Scotland’s Ross Whyte 8-7. Both teams finished with 3-2 records.

In Friday’s earlier draw, Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen (4-0) remained the lone unbeaten team in the men’s competition with an 8-3 win over Scotland’s James Craik (1-3).

The victory assured McEwen of a top-two finish in the men’s standings and a bye to the semifinals

Kerri Einarson (1-3) of Gimli, Man., scored two in the final end for a 6-5 win over Winnipeg’s Kaitlyn Lawes (0-4) and men’s world champion Niklas Edin (2-2) also scored a deuce in the final end in a 6-5 win over Calgary’s Kevin Koe (1-3).

Two more draws were scheduled for Friday. Curling legend Jennifer Jones (1-3), in potentially her final women’s curling match, was scheduled to face Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg (2-2).

Jones, who was a longshot to make the playoffs, says she is retiring from four-player curling after this season but will continue to compete in mixed doubles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

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