OAKVILLE, Ont. — Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., kicked off the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season in the win column edging Sweden’s Team Isabella Wrana 6-5 in an extra end Tuesday morning in the Masters at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex.
The two-time reigning Canadian champions advanced to the A Event semifinals of the triple knockout round. Teams must win three games before they lose three in order to qualify for the playoffs.
“It always feels good to start your first game off with a win,” skip Kerri Einarson said. “It kind of sets the pace for the whole entire week. I thought we came out and played a really great game. I’d like to take a couple of my shots back but that’s how it goes and came out with a ‘W.’”
Einarson settled for a single in the fourth end to snap a tie and stole two points in the fifth to go up 4-1. Wrana rebounded in six by chipping off her own stone in the house and rolling in for a deuce to close the gap back to within one. Einarson added a single in seven but rolled heavy on her last in eight allowing Wrana to draw for the tying deuce and force overtime.
The Masters is also the first major tournament to have fans back in the stands since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans must show proof of double vaccination and wear a mask.
“I said to (third) Val (Sweeting) actually during the game, I was like, well, it’s early. There are a few fans but it’s so nice to see people in the stands again and hearing the claps,” said Einarson, who won the Princess Auto Players’ Championship last season in the Calgary bubble. “It’s definitely something that we missed last season.”
Elsewhere in the tight opening draw, Team Tabitha Peterson of the United States topped Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones 6-5.
Japan’s Team Tori Koana stunned world No. 1 Team Anna Hasselborg of Sweden 7-6. Koana, who is the No. 16 seed in the brackets, was making her GSOC series debut.
Team Eun-Jung Kim of South Korea also earned an extra-end victory to start defeating Russia’s Team Alina Kovaleva 4-3.
Triple knockout play continues with Draw 2 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
NOTES: The Masters is the first of five events on the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling schedule and features 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … Triple knockout play runs through to Saturday morning. The quarterfinals and semifinals are also Saturday with both finals set for Sunday. … Tickets are available at masters.goigniter.com. … Broadcast coverage begins Thursday at 11 a.m. ET on Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).