Fujisawa gets back on track with win over Walker at Players’ Championship
TORONTO — Team Satsuki Fujisawa climbed back into the win column in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship with an 8-5 victory over Team Laura Walker during Draw 10 Thursday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
The Olympic silver medallists from Japan won their opener over Team Mackenzie Zacharias 7-1 Tuesday but dropped their second match by an identical score to three-time reigning world champions Team Silvana Tirinzoni on Wednesday to fall into the B brackets of the triple knockout preliminary round.
The triple knockout consists 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.
While Team Fujisawa (2-1) remain in the B stage and just need another victory to advance to the quarterfinals, Team Walker, from Edmonton, slipped to a 1-2 record and into the last-chance C Event.
Meanwhile, Team Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., also improved to a 2-1 record to reach the B-qualifiers with an 8-2 rout over Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones (1-2).
Already up by one point, McCarville scored three in the fifth end and stole two in the sixth as Jones had a slash double attempt to possibly get four right back, but she only grazed the outside guard and conceded the match.
Fujisawa and McCarville meet for a playoff spot Friday.
In the men’s division, Team Mike McEwen and Team Jason Gunnlaugson will face off in an all-Winnipeg B-qualifier.
McEwen moved on scoring two in the eighth and stealing one in the extra end to edge Toronto’s Team John Epping 4-3 during Draw 10 while Gunnlaugson also needed OT to score a single and solve Regina’s Team Matt Dunstone 6-5.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship continues with Draw 11 at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international). The featured game is Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., vs. Saskatoon’s Team Colton Flasch.
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 the box office and online at thegrandslamofcurling.com/tickets.