Quarterfinal line-up decided for Mixed Doubles

Mikhail Vaskov RUS Photo: WCF/Richard Gray

The quarterfinal line-up for the unique Mixed Doubles Curling Competition has now been decided at the Winter Youth Olympic Games following the conclusion of the last 16 play-offs.

Doubles pairings Canada/Austria, Russia/Japan, Korea/Norway, Czech Republic/Russia, Japan/Korea, Germany/Switzerland and USA/Great Britain are all through to the quarterfinals which will be played at 17:00 (local / CET) on Saturday 21st January. The full quarterfinal draw can be downloaded below.

Shot of the day came in session 2 from Russian Mixed Team Skip, Mikhail Vaskov, playing with partner Zuzana Hruzova from the Czech Republic. Trailing 5-4 in the seventh end, Mikhail pulled off a run-back double to score two points and seal a 6-5 victory. This win ends a successful day for the Russian’s, who now have three chances to win a medal following victories earlier in the day for Vaskov’s compatriots.

After the game, Vaskov explained his decision to try the bold shot. He said: “I was thinking about the delivery of the last stone a lot and I actually wanted to do it a little bit differently. Thankfully it worked out well for us!”

The second session of the day proved quite a round, with Taylor Anderson of the USA making an in-off shot to win their tight game 6-4 against Rasmus Wrana of Sweden and Kerli Zirk of Estonia.

Alongside partner Great Britain’s Duncan Menzies, Taylor, playing on the sheet directly in front of the spectator seating, played her last shot under great pressure. Afterwards she said: “I knew I had good weight but his face dropped and he was like ‘right off’ and I was like, ‘no,’ because I thought we missed it.”

The German speaking duo of Nicole Muskatewitz, from Germany, and Michael Brunner from Switzerland, stole their way to victory, with four stolen points sealing a 6-1 victory in seven ends over Norway’s Ina Roll Backe and Jin Bo Wang from China.

Sharing a language has been a great advantage for the pair, as Brunner explained: “It’s been great fun playing with another country, and we’ve been quite lucky in that we both speak the same language. For me, there’s not much pressure, so it’s more fun than competition, but I still want to win.”

The final game in the second session saw the Pacific-Asian duo of Mako Tamakuma of Japan and Minhyeon Yoo dominate Irena Brettbacher of Austria and her partner, Italy’s Amos Mosaner, running out 9-4 winners in seven ends.

Yoo was confident throughout the game. He said: “I thought we could win our game against Mosaner and Brettbacher but I was nervous when they got three points. We’re looking forward to the next game and believe that we can win gold.”

In the earlier session, Canada’s Corryn Brown continued her impressive form with partner Martin Reichel from Austria as they beat Sueyeon Kang from Korea and her partner Krystof Krupansky from the Czech Republic 7-4. After stealing five points in the first four ends, the pair looked confident through.

Afterwards, Brown paid tribute to her partner. She said: “Martin’s been doing very well. It’s key to have the first rock position spot on and he’s been making his last stones count. I had an opportunity to lay three in one end but I screwed up so I was lucky he made his last shot to make up for my mistake.”

Marek Cernovsky from Czech Republic and Great Britain’s Rachel Hannen were defeated 7-1 in seven ends following a strong performance from Russia’s Anastasia Moskaleva and Tsukasa Horigome from Japan.

Although winning by a large margin, Horigome is however aware just how unpredictable Mixed Doubles can be. He said: “I’m happy [after winning] and I’m looking forward to the next game but it’s hard to tell how we will do because in Mixed Doubles the scores can go either way.”

Korey Dropkin from the USA, and Russia’s Marina Verenich have formed a strong partnership on the ice, which was reflected in their 10-3 win in seven ends over Sweden’s Johanna Heldin and her partner Luke Steele from New Zealand.

The US / Russian pair scooped five points in the third end which helped them seal their victory. Even though they have only played two games together they have worked well together. Verenich explained: “Korey is always assured when he makes his decisions, and makes them very fast, so I think this makes our play very good. It’s a fantastic experience playing with Korey and I’m learning a lot from him – he’s a very good curler and is really friendly.”

In the final game of session 1, Norway’s Martin Sesaker and Korea’s Eunbi Kim stole three points in their 10-4, seven end victory over the USA’s Tom Howell and China’s Ying Yang. The Norwegian and Korean looked confident throughout, but as far as Sesaker is concerned, the game could have easily been won by their opponents.

He said: “It could have went either way so I’m happy with how it went. They got unlucky and missed some key stones and when you don’t pick them up then you lose the match. My partner played some really good shots again today, I’m really impressed with her. All her draws are great, she’s good at speed, she played really well.”

Following these results, Italy, China, Sweden, Estonia and New Zealand will no longer be represented in the Mixed Doubles competition after all four players from these nations were knocked out of the competition.

This part of the event sees athletes from different nations paired together to form teams. The team line ups were decided on the final standings of the Mixed Team Curling Competition which took place at the start of the Games. In all, there are 32 teams in the Mixed Doubles event which is a single knockout. Medal games will take place at 13:00 local time (CET) on Sunday 22 January.

More quotes from the sessions can be found here: http://innsbruck2012.worldcurling.net

Instead of playing in teams of four, mixed doubles curling is for teams of two players – one male and one female. The game is played on the same sheets of ice as ‘traditional’ curling.
Teams have only six stones each (instead of eight) and one of those stones, from each team, is prepositioned on the centreline before each end of play starts. One player delivers the first and last stones and the other player plays the 2nd, 3rd and 4th stones. The two players can swap positions from one end to the next if they choose. The sweeping can be done by both team members.

Curling fans can keep up to date with the latest scores from the event via the World Curling Federation micro-site: http://www.innsbruck2012.worldcurling.net

The World Curling Federation is also be updating regularly from the event via their fan feeds on Twitter http://twitter.com/worldcurling and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/WorldCurlingFederation

A daily highlights video clip covering all of the Winter Olympic sports taking place at the Games will be available on the Innsbruck 2012 YouTube site http://www.youtube.com/innsbruck2012


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