News Tour Challenge

Short-handed Team Fujisawa tops Team Lawes in HearingLife Tour Challenge

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Short-handed Team Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan downed Canada’s Team Kaitlyn Lawes 8-2 Wednesday night in the HearingLife Tour Challenge.

Team Fujisawa second Yumi Suzuki is out of the lineup day-to-day due to a back injury. Fujisawa, third Chinami Yoshida and lead Yurika Yoshida have carried on as a trio and improved to a 1-1 record at the midway mark of round-robin play in the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the season.

Coach J.D. Lind said they’re not quite sure the extent of Suzuki’s injury but they’ll see how it goes as the week progresses.

“Hopefully, she can play tomorrow,” Lind said. “At this point, we don’t really know, so we’re just taking it day by day right now.”

Team Fujisawa played as a trio during the 2019 National — only that time it was Yurika Yoshida not in action — but it’s still an experience they reflect upon for motivation knowing they can pull it off if need be.

Their first game this week against Scotland’s Team Rebecca Morrison didn’t go their way at all losing 7-1, but Lind said they’ve gotten more comfortable playing as three and played a lot better against Team Lawes.

“We made a really good run at a Grand Slam a couple years ago with three, so I think we always go back to that as a really positive experience playing with three but it’s not easy,” Lind said. “A lot of it is mindset, just knowing that playing with three is tough but you can do it.

“They’re always so good at staying positive and working through challenges in a positive way and that’s kind of what they did today. Especially yesterday struggling, they came back today with a good attitude and played a lot better.”

Steals were the name of the game as Fujisawa built an early 3-0 lead without holding the hammer. Lawes conceded a point in the first as her last went wide and was unable to outcount Fujisawa’s frozen shot rock. Fujisawa swiped two more points in the second when Lawes’ last rock chipped off the counter.

The Winnipeg native Lawes recovered to get on the board in the third with a single and stole one of her own in the fourth to make it 3-2 heading into the halftime break.

Fujisawa looked to score a crooked number in the fifth after Lawes’ last went through the house untouched. That didn’t go as planned though as Fujisawa’s final rock also sailed clear through but the two points in her pocket gave her a 5-2 cushion.

Lawes (0-2) continued to struggle and additional steals of one in the sixth and two in the seventh put the game out of reach.

Elsewhere, Team Morrison moved up to a 2-0 record with a 5-4 victory over Sweden’s Team Isabella Wranå (1-1). Morrison held the hammer coming home trailing by one and was able to come around and nudge Wranå’s rock at the back of the four-foot circle to take two for the win.

It was a little bit of deja vu one sheet over as Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni also improved to 2-0 after scoring a decisive deuce in the eighth end to win 5-4 versus Team Tabitha Peterson (0-2) of the United States. It looked like Peterson had shot rock protected on the button, however, Tirinzoni’s fourth Alina Pätz threw a heater and was able to unlock it out the back.

South Korea’s Team Eun-Ji Gim climbed to 2-0 as well following a 7-4 win over Norway’s Team Marianne Roervik (0-2).

HEARINGLIFE TOUR CHALLENGE: Scores/Standings | Draw Schedule | Broadcast Schedule


• Team Yusuke Morozumi 8, Team Marco Hösli 2

• Team Mike McEwen 5, Team Catlin Schneider 3

• Team Cameron Bryce 7, Team Daniel Casper 2

• Team Rylan Kleiter 6, Team Ryan Wiebe 4


The HearingLife Tour Challenge resumes Thursday with Draw 9 at 8:30 a.m. local time. Ticket information is available at

Broadcast coverage begins with Draw 10 at 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT on Sportsnet and streaming online at Sportsnet+ (Canada) and Yare (international).


The HearingLife Tour Challenge is the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the season with 32 men’s teams and 32 women’s teams in two tiers of action. Tier 1 features the top teams from around the world while Tier 2 features the next group of teams looking to move up the rankings into the top flight. … Round-robin play runs through to Friday with the top eight teams in each division qualifying for the playoffs. … The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with the finals set for Sunday.