After a slow start in PyeongChang, Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris are picking up momentum in their quest to reach the podium in mixed doubles curling.
The Canadian pair defeated China 10-4 in seven ends on Thursday evening (Canadian time) to move to two wins and one loss in round-robin play. The victory comes after they lost 9-6 to Norway and then beat the United States 6-4 in a nail-biter on the first day of competition.
In China’s previous draw, a series of errors had cost them a 6-1 lead against South Korea, although China eventually hung on for a razor-thin, extra-end 8-7 win. But that trend of patchy play continued against Canada, as a couple of Chinese miscues left Lawes needing just a simple draw to score three in the first end.
The Chinese duo of Wang Rui and Ba Dexin hit back in the second end, scoring a pair of points. But Wang struggled with accuracy in the third, giving Lawes and Morris the opportunity to score four, their biggest single-end outburst of the competition thus far.
Trailing 7-2 through three ends, China invoked their “power play” option in the fourth end. The rule, a key strategic part of the mixed doubles game, allows the team with the hammer to pre-position a stone in a corner guard position to begin the end, with the goal of scoring multiple points in that end.
It didn’t pay off, however, as a Morris triple takeout cleared the house late in the end, and China scored just one, leaving Canada with a 7-3 lead through four ends (in the mixed doubles format, games are customarily played to eight ends).
Canada picked up another point in the fifth on a nice hit and roll by Lawes, and were in a good position to steal another in the sixth after a series of missed runbacks by Ba. But an official measurement gave China a single, bringing the score to 8-4.
There was no Chinese comeback in the works, however, as Canada scored another pair in the seventh end, leaving little for the teams to do beyond shake hands and get ready for Draw 4 later in the day.
Up next for Canada (2-1) is Finland (0-3) at 11:30 p.m. ET (8:30 p.m. PT) on Thursday. The top four teams in the eight-team competition will reach the medal round, which begins on Saturday (Canadian time).