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Canada tops South Korea before dumping Sweden at world women's curling playdowns


NORTH BAY, Ont. — South Korea's EunJung Kim and the Olympic darling Garlic Girls used a pressure-heavy style to reach the podium at the Winter Games.

It didn't work against Canada's Jennifer Jones on Wednesday at the world women's curling championship.

Jones knocked off the Pyeongchang silver medallists 8-4 and then topped Olympic champion Anna Hasselborg of Sweden 8-4 in the evening.

Canada (8-0) moved into sole possession of first place in the round-robin standings. Sweden dropped to 8-1 and South Korea fell into a third-place tie with Russia at 6-2.

"We just have to know that we can't let up at this point," said Canada second Jill Officer. "We went out there and did what we could today. It obviously worked but now we have to keep it going."

In the opener, a back-and-forth matchup swung Canada's way in the seventh end and the host side didn't look back.

"We just made some big shots when we had to and it really changed the game," Jones said.

The Canadians have been slow starters at times this week and the South Korea game was no different.

Jones went for a double takeout in the first end but wrecked on a guard and gave up a steal. The Canadian skip made a tap for one to pull even in the second.

After South Korea was forced to a single, Jones delivered an in-off for two in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.

The Canadians had some struggles with draw weight in the early going but still threw 86 per cent overall.

Kim settled for a single in the fifth end and nailed a hit and roll in a crowded house before stealing one in the sixth. Jones responded with a draw for two — the second point confirmed on a measure — and a 5-4 lead.

The boisterous crowd of 2,753 at the North Bay Memorial Gardens popped after the decision and the Canadians were in control.

Jones, the 2014 Olympic champ, stole a single in the eighth and had her stone freeze after a brilliant double takeout in the ninth. Kim was heavy with her draw and Canada stole a pair to seal it.

"(Jones) really came up with some big saves that game," said Canadian national team coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson. "If she doesn't make one of those shots, that game looks totally different.

"Korea put a lot of pressure on Canada today."

The South Koreans threw 73 per cent as a team.

"Jennifer Jones is a world champion, she's also an Olympic gold medallist and she was making incredible shots," Kim said via a translator. "She has a lot of control."

Hasselborg, meanwhile, struggled with her draw weight in the night game. She was heavy on an open throw to the four-foot to give up a steal of one in the second end.

Both skips had low percentages with Jones at 66 per cent and Hasselborg at 64 per cent.

Hasselborg smacked her broom on the ice in frustration after rubbing a guard to give Canada a stolen deuce in the fifth end. Sweden got two points back but Jones nailed a hit for three in the seventh to put the game away.

"There is something that is called a good miss," Hasselborg said. "We didn't do any good misses today, we only did bad misses."

Earlier, Sweden beat Germany's Daniela Jentsch 8-4 and South Korea edged American Jamie Sinclair 9-8.

Russia's Victoria Moiseeva defeated Germany 6-2 in the evening. Japan's Tori Koana beat Italy's Diana Gaspari 8-6 and Scotland's Hannah Fleming got by China's Yilun Jiang 8-7.

Attendance was 3,006 in the night draw to bring the overall total to 34,184. Round-robin play continues through Friday night.

After 14 sessions, the Americans and Japan were tied with Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic at 4-4. Switzerland's Binia Feltscher was 3-5 while China and Scotland were 3-6.

Denmark's Angelina Jensen fell to 2-6, ahead of just Italy (2-7) and Germany (1-7).

Six of the 13 teams in the field will reach the playoffs. The medal games are scheduled for Sunday.

This is the sixth time that Jones has played in the world championship. Her lone title came in 2008.

Ottawa's Rachel Homan won gold at last year's event in Beijing. She represented Canada at the Pyeongchang Games but did not make the podium.

Brad Gushue of St. John's will represent Canada at the Mar. 31-Apr. 8 world men's curling championship in Las Vegas.

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Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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