In-form Canada closing in on curling semifinals

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm •  Published: February 13, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — So much for this supposedly being the most open women's Olympic curling tournament yet.

Canada is turning it into a procession.

With skip Jennifer Jones retaining her brilliant form, the Canadians beat both Denmark and Switzerland 8-5 on Thursday to stay undefeated after five games and move to the brink of the semifinals.

"I don't know if we are making it look easy," Jones said, "but we are coming out, playing well and making the big shots when we have to."

Canada now has beaten all its big rivals — Sweden, Britain and the Swiss — in the opening four days as the curling-mad country goes for its first Olympic gold medal in the women's event since 1998.

In Jones, Canada has probably the best women's player in Sochi and she opened up a close game against Denmark by picking up three points in the ninth end to give her team an 8-5 cushion.

She made the difference in the ninth end against the Swiss as well, playing a draw that just slid by an opposition stone to settle in the 4-foot ring for three points.

"There's a reason why I've been playing with her for more than 20 years," Canada second Jill Officer said. "She is a great shooter, a great leader, a great skip. It's great she is on top of her game."

Jones said she thinks Canada still needs two more wins to secure a top-four place, but six victories has been enough to reach the medal round in the three previous Olympic tournaments where there have been 10 teams.

Sweden (4-1) is pulling out all the stops just to stay in touch with the Canadians.

The two-time defending champion won both of its games on Thursday on the final shot, earning a point with the hammer to beat Switzerland 9-8 in the morning session and by stealing a point to defeat Denmark 7-6.

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