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Homan anticipating good battle with Tirinzoni for Canadian Open women’s title

RED DEER, Alta. — History is repeating in the Grand Slam of Curling as Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan and Team Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland will face off Sunday in the women’s final of the Co-op Canadian Open and for a second consecutive time this season.

It’ll be a rematch of last month’s WFG Masters championship game where Homan doubled up on Tirinzoni 8-4 to claim a record-extending 14th Grand Slam women’s title.

Coincidentally, they also beat the same teams they did last time to reach the championship game. Homan triumphed over Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones 8-3 and Tirinzoni topped Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., 6-5 during Saturday’s semifinals at Servus Arena.

At least the afternoon quarterfinals were different as Homan dispatched South Korea’s Team Eun-Ji Gim 6-3 and Tirinzoni eliminated South Korea’s Team Eun-Jung Kim 8-5.

“Amazing,” Homan said. “I’m really proud of the girls for battling the two games tonight and getting through to the final. It’s huge to get to another final.”

This is only Team Homan’s seventh event of the season but it’s a case of quality over quantity. The No. 3 ranked team in the world is playing in its sixth final with four title wins already.

It’s not even Homan’s first final in this venue this season as her team competed in November’s Red Deer Curling Classic that took place down the hallway in the curling centre. Homan posted a perfect record in the tour event en route to the title.

“We love playing in Red Deer,” said Homan, who lives in Beaumont, Alta. “For me, it’s close to home. It’ll be a full crowd tomorrow and it’s always fun to play in front of a soldout crowd like it was this week.”

Homan, who went 3-1 through pool play, opened with the hammer in the semifinal match and chipped out Jones’ stone to score three points right off the bat in the first end.

Jones, who has won 10 Grand Slam women’s titles, drew to take two back in the second. Homan was forced to a single in the third but stole a pair in the fourth to grab a 6-2 hold on the match. After Jones was limited to one in the fifth, Homan tacked on two more points in the sixth to bring out the early handshakes.

Team Homan shot 81 per cent with third Tracy Fleury firing at a game-high 96 per cent.

“She’s always a difference-maker, so no change there,” Homan said. “She’s playing great and just battling out there. It could have gone either way, they quit early but it was a couple of shots here and there and it was a different game. They’re a good team and always give us a good game.”

Homan will have to find a way to upend Tirinzoni, who carries an unblemished 5-0 record into the final and will start with the hammer.

“We’re definitely playing better and better as the season’s going on and hopefully we can come out firing tomorrow,” Homan said. “I know Tirinzoni will be, so it’ll be a good battle [Sunday].”

It was a wild start to the Tirinzoni-Einarson match as the teams traded three-enders out of the gate. Einarson stole one point and a 4-3 lead in the fourth after she made a great draw for shot rock and Alina Pätz, who throws the last rocks for Team Tirinzoni, wrecked her final stone of the end.

After the teams alternated singles in five and six, Team Tirinzoni blanked in seven and Pätz was able to draw for two and the win in the final frame after Einarson missed a double takeout.

Watch the Co-op Canadian Open women’s final live at 5 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. MT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet+ (Canada) and (international).