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Ackland, Gushue advance to Canadian Open curling playoffs

Brad Gushue Brad Gushue - The Canadian Press

CAMROSE, Alta. — Team Abby Ackland of Winnipeg, playing in their first Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event, have qualified for the Canadian Open playoffs.

Team Ackland advanced to Saturday's quarterfinals and improved her record to 3-1 with an important 8-6 victory over Anna Hasselborg’s Swedish crew during Draw 15 action on Friday.

Hasselborg is a seven-time Grand Slam title winner and won the Canadian Open women’s title when the tournament was last held in 2020.

Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan and Team Eun-Ji Gim also reached the quarterfinals through the B-qualifiers.

Homan defeated Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., 5-3 while Gim beat Winnipeg’s Team Kaitlyn Lawes 6-3.

Hasselborg, Einarson and Lawes — all with 2-2 records — are now in Saturday morning’s C-qualifiers for a final chance to reach the quarterfinals.

Einarson plays Switzerland’s Team Raphaela Keiser, Hasselborg goes up against Italy’s Team Stefania Constantini and Lawes takes on Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones, who ousted Switzerland’s Team Michèle Jäggi 8-4 in a C-semifinal matchup during Draw 15.

Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat, Winnipeg’s Team Matt Dunstone and Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., advanced to the Co-op Canadian Open playoffs from the B-side of the triple knockout round on Friday.

Mouat made it past Team Korey Dropkin from the United States 4-3, Dunstone defeated Scotland’s Team Ross Whyte 5-2 and Gushue grabbed a 6-5 win over Italy’s Team Joël Retornaz during Draw 14 action Friday afternoon.

All three winners enter Saturday’s quarterfinals with 3-1 records. Dunstone awaits one of the C-qualifiers while Mouat and Gushue will meet each other.

Teams must win three games before they lose three in the triple knockout. Dropkin, Whyte and Retornaz — all with 2-2 records — have one final chance to qualify through Friday night’s C-qualifiers.

In Friday's late draw, Dropkin played Winnipeg’s Team Reid Carruthers, Retornaz played Team Tanner Horgan from Sudbury, Ont., and Whyte faced Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller, who eliminated Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe 6-3 in a C-semifinal matchup during Draw 14.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2023.