News Masters

Tirinzoni tops Einarson to stay perfect heading into Masters playoffs

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Team Silvana Tirinzoni had already qualified for the Masters playoffs and kept their perfect record intact to wrap up their group schedule Friday.

The reigning world champions from Switzerland sit at the top of the table with an unblemished 4-0 record after escaping with a 5-4 win over Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., at Memorial Gardens.

Einarson, who won the Players’ Championship and finished runner-up at the Humpty’s Champions Cup to Tirinzoni to end last season, is at 2-2 and her fate will be determined following the two remaining round-robin draws on the day.

“It feels great,” said Team Tirinzoni fourth Alina Paetz, who earned her first career Grand Slam title at the Humpty’s Champions Cup. “We looked so forward to playing back in the Grand Slams and it’s even better now that we’re 4-0. It was a fun game, let’s say it this way.”

Mistakes were made that could have swung the game the other way. With the score tied 1-1 in the third, Einarson had an opportunity to score a huge five count with a short angle run. However, her shooter over-curled and ended up promoting Tirinzoni’s rock in to give up a steal instead.

Einarson held the hammer in the sixth end down 3-2 but faced a trio of counters and misfired to concede two more points and Tirinzoni held on from there.

“We struggled a bit with the draw weight in the first half of the game but we managed to stay in the game, especially after the third end,” Paetz said. “We got better and better as the game [went on] and I think that was important.”

Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., moved up to a 2-1 record by defeating Team Chelsea Carey 8-3. The reigning Scotties Tournament of Hearts champions from Calgary were eliminated with a 1-3 record.

Fleury, who is from nearby Sudbury, has one round-robin game remaining in the evening against Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan.

Japan’s Team Sayaka Yoshimura scored two in the eighth end to edge Switzerland’s Team Elena Stern 5-4 and advance to the quarterfinals at 3-1. Stern sits at 2-2.

Winnipeg’s Team Theresa Cannon played the spoiler ousting Scotland’s Team Eve Muirhead 7-6. Both teams are out of playoff contention with Cannon finished at 1-3 and Muirhead at 0-3 with one game still remaining.

Double defending world men’s champions Team Niklas Edin of Sweden went out on a positive note coming back to beat Regina’s Team Matt Dunstone 6-5. Edin ended at 1-3 while Dunstone (3-1) had already clinched a playoff spot.

The Masters features 15 of the top men’s teams and 15 of the top women’s teams from around the world. Both divisions are split into three pools of five for round-robin play with the top eight overall qualifying for the weekend playoffs. The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with the finals set for Sunday.

The action continues at 4 p.m. ET with broadcast coverage on Sportsnet and streaming online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

NOTES: The Masters is the first of six Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events on the season and one of four majors in the series. … The total prize purse is $300,000 and is split evenly between the men’s and women’s divisions. Winners receive $35,000 plus berths towards the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup taking place April 29 to May 3, 2020, in Olds, Alta. … Also up for grabs at the Masters are Pinty’s Cup bonus points. The leaders following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April will capture the Pinty’s Cup with additional prize money awarded.