[BEIJING OLYMPICS] South Korea beat Japan to keep hope alive in women’s curling

BEIJING — South Korea beat Japan 10-5 to keep their medal hopes alive at the 2022 Beijing women‘s curling tournament on Monday, relying on a combination of great shots and mistakes from the opposition.

South Korea, which lost to the United States 8-6 earlier on Monday, tied their record at 3-3 with three games remaining in the round robin.

South Korea is tied with Canada and Great Britain for fifth place. Switzerland leads with 5-1, followed by Japan (4-2), Sweden (4-2) and the United States (4-2).

The 10 competing teams will each play nine round robin games. The top four teams will reach the semi-finals. South Korea’s next game is against Switzerland on Wednesday at 9:05 a.m. local time, or 10:05 a.m. in Seoul.

A loss to Japan would have all but ended South Korea’s hopes of winning its second consecutive medal. Led by captain Kim Eun-jung, South Korea won a surprise silver medal at PyeongChang 2018.

Kim is back with the same group of teammates, but so far their performance has been on a rollercoaster ride in Beijing. They lost to Canada in the first game, before successively beating Great Britain and the Russian Olympic Committee. South Korea then lost to China and the United States

Kim and the others saved the best for the rival game against Japan.

South Korea was gifted a point in the first end, when Japan held the hammer, or the last stone.

With a South Korean stone in the house, all Japan captain Satsuki Fujisawa had to do was clear it out of the scoring area and ensure her own stone would stay outside as well. This way, the teams would have been left scoreless and Japan would have retained the hammer for the second end with a chance to score several runs.

In an unusual misstep, Fujisawa completely missed the South Korean rock with his clearance attempt, allowing South Korea to take a 1-0 lead.

Fujisawa bounced back in the second end, as she executed a successful takedown with her hammer to put Japan ahead 2-1.

South Korea captain Kim Eun-jung had her answer in the third end, delivering three runs with a double out that gave her team a 4-2 lead.

South Korea then stole a point in the fourth end to take a 5-2 lead, taking advantage of a few Japanese errors along the way.

Japan fought back with a deuce in the fifth end and closed the gap to 5-4 at the halfway point.

But South Korea still won three points after the sixth end. Fujisawa’s attempt to take out a South Korean rock in the house with his last rock went wrong, as he hit a Japanese rock in the way. Kim then placed her last rock safely inside the button to grab two more points.

South Korea again stole a point in the seventh end to take an 8-4 lead and make the game even more out of reach. Kim had another impressive shot with her penultimate stone in the seventh end to put four South Korean stones inside the house. South Korea had three stones left in the scoring area, and Fujisawa failed to make a take-away shot, while South Korea ended up getting a much-needed insurance point.

Japan recovered a point in the eighth end, but Fujisawa squandered a chance to grab another point by missing their attempt to draw with their last rock.

Kim then easily placed his last rock into the house, giving South Korea two extra points for a 10-5 lead. With one end to play, Japan conceded the game. (Yonhap)

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