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Black upsets Jones; Gushue, McEwen into semis at PointsBet Invitational

Christina Black Christina Black - The Canadian Press

OAKVILLE, Ont. — The PointsBet Invitational saw its first major upset in women's competition Friday with Christina Black defeating Jennifer Jones 9-6 in second-round action at the single-elimination curling tournament.

Jones, the women's third seed, led 6-5 after six ends. But after a blank seventh end, Black's sixth-seeded team took the lead with two in the eighth.

The third seeds kept the hammer heading into the final end after a blank ninth. But Jones, who curled a game-low 69 per cent, missed on her final shot to give Black a steal of two.

“It’s always OK to be the underdog and for people to underestimate you," Black said. "We don’t mind at all.”

Black moves on to play Rachel Homan in the semifinals. The second-seeded Homan advanced with a 10-6 win over No. 7 Isabelle Ladoceur.

After a strong run into the playoffs at the 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Kamloops, B.C., Black's team from Dartmouth, N.S., is looking for more success in its fifth season together.

“When you know your teammates really well and we enjoy playing together, you know you can hang in games,” Black said. “We can keep them close and close them out if we get the opportunity. You build that as you gain more experience with your teammates.”

Top seed and three-time defending Canadian champion Kerri Einarson advanced to the semifinals with a 10-6 win over No. 8 Kayla Skrlik.

Einarson will next face fourth seed Kaitlyn Lawes, who was an 8-3 winner over No. 5 Clancy Grandy on Friday.

In the men's Elite 8 draw, teams skipped by Mike McEwen, Brad Gushue, Matt Dunstone and Reid Carruthers advanced to the final four with victories.

The 10th-seeded McEwen, who scored a game-changing three in the seventh end, defeated Brendan Bottcher's crew 9-5.

"Honestly, we put a ton of pressure on them," said McEwen, who is fighting a cold this week. "I can't really take much credit myself; maybe I put the broom in the right spot. But honestly, the front three boys all played really well."

The top-seeded Gushue of St. John's, N.L., slipped past Ryan Wiebe's team 8-4, third-seeded Dunstone of Winnipeg, Man., edged Karsten Sturmay's quartet 8-5, and fifth-seeded Carruthers of Winnipeg scored one in the 10th end to edge Ryan Kleiter's team 9-8.

In Saturday's semifinals, Gushue plays Carruthers in a rematch of last year's semifinal in Fredericton, won by Carruthers, while Dunstone faces McEwen.

The PointsBet Invitational is the first Season of Champions event of the season.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2023.