Sweden, unbeaten Canada advance to women’s curling semis

SOCHI, Russia — Sweden joined Canada in the semifinals of women’s Olympic curling Sunday, courtesy of its 5-4 win over Russia and Switzerland’s extra-end loss to Japan.

The Canadians are guaranteed the top seed in the playoffs after beating the United States 7-6 in an extra end for an eighth straight win. If they beat South Korea on Monday, they will become the first women’s team to go through an Olympic round-robin campaign undefeated.

"We don’t really think about the record," Canada curler Kaitlyn Lawes said. "We are in the playoffs — the next goal now is to win that semifinal."

Switzerland’s 9-7 loss puts the team at 4-4 and in danger of missing the semifinals, puncturing the optimism that built up after beating world champion Britain on Saturday.

The Swiss will have to beat China in their last game to stand a chance of qualifying, although the best they realistically can hope for is a tiebreaker.

Denmark beat South Korea 7-4 in the afternoon session’s other game.

The king and queen of Sweden were at the Ice Cube Curling Center to watch their country’s men’s team seal qualification to the semifinals in the morning session.

They had long gone — to the mountains, to see Sweden win the men’s cross-country skiing relay — by the time the women’s curlers celebrated a sixth victory from eight matches with warm hugs and wide smiles.

"We just missed them," Swedish player Maria Prytz said. "I hope they stay (for the medal round). Hopefully they will watch us in the future. It’s really good to have them here, cheering for all the Swedes."

The win was secured by a superb final shot by Prytz, who bumped a stone into the house at the perfect angle for two points.

It left a previously upbeat home crowd stunned and virtually eliminated the Russians (3-5), who have a young team and are skipped by 23-year-old Anna Sidorova — one of the most popular athletes in the country. The host nation’s men’s team already has failed to reach the semifinals.

"Age helps, sure, when you have experience," Russia coach Thomas Lips said, "but I don’t think the issue here is that this is a young team."

Canada qualified Saturday but decided to stick with the same lineup — leaving Kirsten Wall as alternate again — and keep the momentum going.

Skip Jennifer Jones was down on her accuracy against the U.S. team and gave up a steal in the 10th to take the game to overtime. Canada had the hammer, though, and Jones made a routine draw for victory.

"We are finding a way to be in control of the game and have our fate in our own hands," Jones said. "That’s a great feeling to have."

The American women are 1-7 and on track to finish in last place for the second straight Olympics.