Canada falls to South Korea in world curling championship opener

Team Canada skip Chelsea Carey. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)

SILKEBORG, Denmark — Korea’s Min-Ji Kim scored three in the ninth end to edge Canada’s Chelsea Carey 7-6 on Saturday at the world women’s curling championship.

It was the first game of the tournament for both rinks.

Carey’s draw to tie it in the 10th end wrecked on a guard, giving Korea the victory.

"We just struggled to figure out the ice," said Carey, whose Calgary-based team also includes third Sarah Wilkes, second Dana Ferguson, lead Rachel Brown and alternate Jill Officer.

"We were really close to a lot of good stuff; we just got surprised in a few places. A couple of overcurls in nine, and we thought this spot in the 10th would be really straight."

Korea opened the scoring with a stolen single in the third end before Carey countered with two in the fourth. The Koreans went ahead 3-2 with a pair in the fifth end but the Calgary skip countered with two in the sixth for the 4-3 advantage.

Kim tied the score 4-4 with a single in the seventh before the Canadians counted two again in the eighth for the 6-4 advantage. But the Koreans responded with three in the ninth end.

The Korean team also played in the 2019 world junior championships in Liverpool, N.S., finishing just out of the playoffs at 5-4. They also have won gold and silver medals at World Cup events this season.

"They’re a good team, for sure, and they made a ton of shots," said Carey. "But we had them. We get the deuce in eight and we’re in a really good spot. Even giving up the three in nine, that’s not great, but it’s not the end of the world. But we didn’t make very many shots in 10, unfortunately.

"The result is unfortunate, but it’s a long week, and there have been tons of upsets out there, in both draws. It’s going to be a long week, it’s going to be a battle. There will be lots of tight games, and all you want to do is get better with each game and try to get the ice figured out. I feel like we’re closer, but we still have some work to do there."

In other action in the second draw, reigning Olympic champ Anna Hasselborg of Sweden downed Latvia’s Iveta Stasa-Sarsune 8-5. American Jamie Sinclair beat Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont 8-6 and Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni edged Finland’s Oona Kauste 7-6.

Hasselborg lost in the opening draw, falling 9-3 to Mei Jie of China.

Jie, Kim, Sinclair, Germany’s Daniela Jentsch, Russia’s Alina Kovaleva and Japan’s Seina Nakajima share top spot at 1-0 after the first day of competition.

Carey will play twice Sunday. She’ll face Jentsch in the early draw before taking on Stasa-Sarsune in the evening draw.

Carey is attempting to give Canada a rare three-peat at the world women’s curling championship. The country is chasing a third straight tournament title after unbeaten runs by Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones last year and Ottawa’s Rachel Homan in 2017.

Carey beat Homan in an extra end in the final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last month in Sydney, N.S., to earn the right to represent Canada.

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