SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Canada became the first team to qualify for the semifinals in the women's Olympic curling tournament by beating Russia 5-3 on Saturday to stay undefeated after seven games.
Jennifer Jones' rink earlier rallied to beat Japan 8-6 and will be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs after being guaranteed to finish top of the round-robin standings. There are still two games remaining, too.
"We know we'll have a chance to be on that podium," Jones said. "I'm getting goose bumps just talking about."
Sweden scored two points in the final end on a measurement to beat the United States 7-6 and lie in second place at 5-2. The Americans were watched for the second half of the game by Vernon Davis, the tight end for the San Francisco 49ers who is USA Curling's honorary captain for the Sochi Games.
Britain, the world champion, and China both lost in other games in the evening session to jeopardize their hopes of advancing.
Switzerland defeated Britain 8-6 to leave both teams at 4-3 along with China, which surprisingly lost 9-6 to Denmark.
British skip Eve Muirhead said some of her shots seemed to veer off course because of debris falling off the overhead TV camera.
"There was word that it was the camera that flies back and forward, stuff (was) coming off that and it is not ideal when you do have pick-ups," Muirhead said. "It is out of our control, but it kind of wrecks the game a little bit."
Since curling at the Olympics expanded to 10 teams in 2002, no women's rink has gone through a round-robin stage unbeaten. But Jones' team is on course for just that and with games remaining against two of the bottom three rinks — the United States and South Korea — the Canadians might never have a better chance.
"It's more than you could ever hope for," said Jones, who is competing in her first Olympics despite being Canada's top female curler since 2005. "I feel like we've come to the Olympics and we've performed really well on the world's biggest stage. I'm really proud of that."