News Canadian Open

Jones, Hasselborg advance to Meridian Canadian Open quarterfinals

YORKTON, Sask. — Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones qualified for the Meridian Canadian Open playoffs defeating Team Eve Muirhead of Scotland 6-4 Friday at the Gallagher Centre.

Jones, who has won nine Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling titles, advanced from the B Event of the triple knockout stage with a 3-1 record.

“It was exciting,” said Team Jones second Jocelyn Peterman, who shot a game-leading 92 per cent. “We’re playing really well so we’re really happy with that and happy to qualify.”

The turning point in the game came right after the halftime break with Team Jones sitting four stones after their first skip stone of the fifth end. Muirhead made a double takeout om her last to limit the damage but still left Jones a hit to count three and jump into the lead 4-3.

“That was a big end for us,” Peterman said. “Jenn made some really great shots. It’s a lot of fun out there when she’s playing really well.”

Muirhead, who won the inaugural Canadian Open women’s title in this building in 2014, was forced to hit for a single in six that tied it up. Jones pulled back ahead with a deuce in seven and fired a double takeout with her last of the eighth to run Muirhead out of rocks.

Securing their playoff spot now also means Team Jones can finally rest Saturday morning with the quarterfinals not until the afternoon.

“We’ve played back-to-back morning draws so that was a big game for us to have a little bit of a sleep-in,” Peterman said with a smile. “We were not looking forward to a 7:30 draw, so we’re very happy with that.

Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg also reached the women’s quarterfinals at 3-1 with a 6-4 victory over Switzerland’s Team Elena Stern. Hasselborg continues her quest to win a third consecutive GSOC title after finishing 2019 with championship victories at the KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge and BOOST National.

The Meridian Canadian Open is the lone Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event to use the triple knockout format where teams must win three games before they lose three games in order to qualify. Each loss drops teams to a lower bracket until they are eliminated. Two A-qualifiers (3-0 records), three B-qualifiers (3-1 records) and three C-qualifiers (3-2 records) reach the quarterfinals in both men’s and women’s divisions.

Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., and Team Nina Roth from the United States went undefeated to clinch the top two seeds Thursday at 3-0 while Russia’s Team Alina Kovaleva claimed the other B-side spot at 3-1 earlier Friday.

Elsewhere in the C Event semifinals, Team Min-Ji Kim of South Korea scored three in the seventh and stunned Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan 7-4 to eliminate the defending champions. Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni scored four in the eighth to complete a 7-5 comeback over Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., and Calgary’s Team Chelsea Carey downed Team Sayaka Yoshimura 7-1 to remain in the mix.

The women’s C Event finals take place Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. CT with Muirhead vs. Kim, Tirinzoni vs. Stern and Carey vs. Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa.

First up is the men’s C Event finals at 9 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CT. Watch on Sportsnet ONE or stream online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

NOTES: The Meridian Canadian Open is the fourth event and third major of the 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. … At stake is a $300,000 total purse, split equally between the men’s and women’s divisions, with the winners earning $35,000 plus berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup. … Also up for grabs: points for the Pinty’s Cup, which is the season title awarded following the conclusion of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship in April.