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Gazette Premium Content Canada wins 5th straight in women's curling; US stays alive with win over Japan

Associated Press Updated: February 13, 2014 at 3:20 pm

SOCHI, Russia — Canada moved to the brink of the semifinals in women's Olympic curling by beating Denmark and Switzerland on Thursday to remain undefeated after five games of round-robin play.

Sweden also won both of its games to stay one victory behind the Canadians. The two-time defending champions beat Switzerland 9-8 in the morning session and then stole a point in the final end to defeat Denmark 7-6.

Switzerland started the day unbeaten and top of the standings, but dropped to third place with two losses.

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

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

In Jones, Canada has probably the hottest 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 the 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 near 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."

World champion Britain was under pressure after losing two of its first three games but beat China 8-7 in the morning session to revive its chances of qualifying for the semifinals.

A day after making a mistake with her game-deciding final shot in a 9-6 loss to the Canadians, British skip Eve Muirhead was left with a routine draw into the 4-foot ring to seal victory against the Chinese.

The United States stayed alive in the tournament by picking up an 8-6 win over Japan in the evening session. Erika Brown's rink is 1-4 and still could qualify by winning its final four games.

"Just in the nick of time. We were hoping for that three or four days ago," Brown said. "There's still an outside chance we can make the tie-breaker."

Japan curler Kaho Onodera was in tears as she walked past reporters after the game. She returned to the team after missing its first three games because of the flu.

South Korea beat Russia 8-4 in the other evening game.

Denmark (0-5) is the only team without a win after four days of the tournament.

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