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GB curling teams boost semi-final hopes

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Winter Olympics: GB’s women defeat Switzerland
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-25 February
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and mobile app. Full coverage times

Great Britain’s curling teams improved their hopes of qualifying for the Olympic semi-finals with narrow wins.

Skip Eve Muirhead’s team lie joint fourth in the table after they secured two points in the final end to grind out an 8-7 win over Switzerland.

The men also needed two points in the final end of their match against Denmark for a 7-6 win which moved them into joint third.

GB curling teams boost semi-final hopes
GB curling teams boost semi-final hopes

The top four teams from the respective groups progress to the semi-finals.

Those with the same win-loss record fighting for the fourth spot will play extra tie-breaker matches on Thursday.

The men play Norway on Tuesday before their final match against the USA on Wednesday, and the women face a strong Japanese team on Tuesday and conclude with what could be a crucial match against Canada the following day.

“It’s all in our own hands and you can’t ask for more than that,” men’s skip Kyle Smith told BBC Sport.

“A couple of wins and we’ll be in a perfect place in the semi-finals.”

That contest started cagily, with each team taking just a single with the hammer over the first four ends. The Danes made the first decisive move as they picked up two in the fifth for a 4-2 advantage at the halfway point. But Smith’s rink regrouped and took two themselves in the sixth.

Denmark threatened a big-scoring seventh end, but a combination of good GB defensive work and a poor final stone from the Danish skip Rasmus Stjerne limited them to just one and a 5-4 lead. That one point advantage remained going into the final end, which was well managed by Smith.

Great Britain curling
Great Britain play Norway on Tuesday before their final match against the USA on Wednesday

Nonetheless a final effort by Stjerne to deny Team GB the two points they needed almost came off, but his attempted double take-out failed by millimetres. That allowed Smith to gently glide his final stone into the house for the victory.

In the later match, Muirhead’s team twice held two-point leads, before the Swiss fought back in the seventh and ninth ends to lead 7-6 going into the 10th and final end.

Britain had the hammer (final stone) and appeared set for a point to take the match into an extra end, but poor placement by the Swiss coupled by a good final stone from the skip secured two points and a crucial win.

Muirhead told BBC Sport: “It was a tough game. Both teams played really well. It was a game of inches. We stepped up a gear from yesterday and we want to take this into tomorrow.”

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