TORONTO — Double defending champion Kerri Einarson and her team from Gimli, Man., opened their Princess Auto Players’ Championship title defence Tuesday with a 6-2 victory over Rachel Homan’s Ottawa club.
Einarson captured the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling major when the event was last held in Toronto in 2019 and again last year in the Calgary bubble. The Princess Auto Players’ Championship was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was a textbook start for Einarson drawing for deuces in the first and third ends and holding Homan to singles in the second and fourth to lead 4-2 at the break. After a blank in the five, Einarson was forced to draw for a single in six. Homan missed a double attempt in seven to give up a steal of one point and conceded the match.
Team Einarson (1-0) remain in the A Event of the triple knockout while Team Homan (0-1) dropped into the B brackets.
That set up a Scotties Tournament of Hearts final rematch with Einarson next facing Team Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., who topped Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg 9-4.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship features a triple knockout preliminary round consisting of three brackets: A, B and C. Teams must win three games in order to qualify for the playoffs. Each loss drops a team to a lower bracket until they lose three games and are out of the tournament. Two A teams (3-0 records), three B teams (3-1 records) and three C teams (3-2 records) advance to the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere in the second draw, three-time reigning world champion Team Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland downed Germany’s Team Daniela Jentsch 7-2 and Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa secured a 7-1 rout over Team Mackenzie Zacharias of Altona, Man.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship continues with Draw 3 at 3 p.m. ET.
NO TICK ZONE
Teams cannot tick guards off of the centre line while the five-rock, free guard zone is in effect during the game. Following an infraction of the rule, the non-offending team may decide to leave the situation as is.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship is the third event of the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world with a combined $350,000 prize purse. Winning teams earn $35,000. … The Pinty’s Cup will also be awarded to the season champions following the conclusion of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship. Winners of the Pinty’s Cup receive $50,000 bonuses. … Tickets are available at thegrandslamofcurling.com/tickets.