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Einarson beats Homan in wild showdown, advances to playoffs at Grand Slam opener

Kerri Einarson Kerri Einarson - The Canadian Press

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Kerri Einarson earned a playoff spot at the Grand Slam of Curling's HearingLife Tour Challenge with a wild 7-5 win over Rachel Homan on Friday.

Einarson was up 7-0 after four ends, but the four-time defending Canadian women's champion had to fend off a furious comeback from Homan.

Homan, the event's defending champion, scored three in the fifth end and then had back-to-back steals of one, but it wasn't enough.

Einarson, from Gimli, Man., moved on with a 3-2 record, while Homan, of Beaumont, Alta., was eliminated at 2-2.

Elsewhere, Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg finished the round-robin at 4-0 following a 7-5 win over Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones. Jones finished 2-2 but advanced based on shootout scores.

Italy’s Stefania Constantini (3-1) stole a point in an extra end to edge South Korea’s Seung-Youn Ha. The loss eliminated Ha (1-3) and moved Winnipeg’s Kaitlyn Lawes (2-2) into the playoffs.

Winnipeg’s Kate Cameron (1-3) earned a 9-3 victory over Vancouver’s Clancy Grandy (0-4). Neither skip advanced to the playoffs.

On the men's side, the playoff picture was finalized with the last draw of the day.

Winnipeg's Reid Carruthers (2-2) squeezed in with a 4-3 win over Scotland's Ross Whyte (3-1), who had already qualified for the quarterfinals.

Olympic champion Niklas Edin of Sweden (2-2) defeated Calgary's Kevin Koe (2-2) 9-4 to get into the playoffs on shootout scores.

Italy's Joel Retornaz (3-1) suffered his only loss on Friday, a 6-4 defeat to Scotland’s Bruce Mouat (1-3), but already qualified.

The rest of the quarterfinal picture consists of Brad Gushue (3-1) of St. John's, N.L.; Matt Dunstone (3-1) of Kamloops, B.C.; Switzerland’s Team Yannick Schwaller (3-1); and Brendan Bottcher (2-2) of Spruce Grove, Alta., who also made it through on shootout scores.

John Shuster (2-2) of the U.S. earned a 4-3 victory over Japan’s Riku Yanagisawa (1-3) on Friday, but both fell short of the playoffs.

Play continues through Sunday at Gale Centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023.