Round-robin curling action continues at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Day 4.
Women's Curling Session 2
The women kicked things off with four pivotal showdowns, headlined by Team USA taking on host nation Russia in what turned out to be Tuesday morning's most thrilling matchup on the ice.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the latest results.
Ahead of the clash with Russia, three-time Olympian and current U.S. women's skip Erika Brown stressed the importance of her squad keeping their nerves in check during the big moments throughout the Winter Games, per TeamUSA.org's Amanda Manci:
Our coaching staff and the support we've received have been tremendous to put us in a position to finally get up there and win a medal. It’s important to perform under pressure. Managing the stress and adrenaline of the situation is what will separate teams.
However, during the fourth and fifth ends on Tuesday, it was Russia who were able to manage their adrenaline better than Team USA, scoring four quick points to erase a 3-1 deficit and take a 5-4 lead.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd inside the Ice Cube Curling Center was delirious.
This Russian crowd is nuts!!! What a sweet curling environment. (If you are curling for Russia that is)— Daniel Selke (@DJSelke) February 11, 2014
The Americans would respond and level in the sixth but with the crowd behind them, Russia would again take the lead, moving ahead 7-5 in the seventh end.
Team USA would narrow the gap in the eighth end but Russian skip Anna Sidorova would put the game away with two big points in the ninth end to seal the deal for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Japan and Korea were engaged in a spellbinding back-and-forth battle as well.
Japan would go ahead 2-0 in the first end, but wound up watching helplessly as Korea came storming back in the second end, tying the score before moving ahead 4-3 in the fourth. The two squads would swap the lead a couple of more times before Korea took control late, turning a 7-7 deadlock into a 12-7 advantage.
Switzerland, coming off an impressive 7-4 victory over the United States on Day 3, looked strong in the early goings against Denmark. However, the Danes weren't content to roll over one day after falling 7-4 to Russia in their opening game, rallying to score twice in the fourth end to knot the score up at 3-3.
Trailing 6-4 after eight ends, Denmark rallied yet again to level the game at 6-6.
But the Swiss would take advantage of the hammer in the 10th end to steal a 7-6 victory, their second of the round-robin.
Meanwhile, Sweden, who survived Great Britain on Day 3, had no answer against Canada on Tuesday, falling into an early 4-1 that they would never recover from. Canadian skip Jennifer Jones and her teammates were zeroed-in from the outset and secured another impressive win, just one day after trouncing China 9-2.
Jennifer Jones in the zone vs Sweden. Wins 9-3 in 8 ends. Jones did not miss one of her 16 shots curling 100% and most were difficult.— Joe Pascucci (@Pascucci015) February 11, 2014
The 9-3 win in eight sets means Canada improves to 2-0 in round-robin play.
If the first two days of competition are any indication, both Canada and Russia will be awfully tough to beat the rest of the way.
Based on how dominant Jones and the rest of the Canadian women have been, the reigning Olympic silver medalists look poised to take home gold in 2014.
Women's Curling Session 3
Women's curling round-robin Session 3 featured two close contests and two blowouts. The dominant teams are beginning to gain consistency and show their true form as they pull away from the pack.
Here's a look at the results from this session:
|Great Britain||12-3||United States|
We are beginning to see separation from the top teams and the bottom-dwellers, as the standings continue to take shape:
China took on host Russia in the most nail-biting match in Session 3. Russia started fast, gaining a lead of three stones to one through five ends. However, China's skip Bingyu Wang rallied the team, scoring two stones in the sixth end and three in the eighth.
After one Russian point in the ninth, the score sat at 6-5 in China's favor heading into the final end. Russia was unable to tie things up, as China—holding the hammer—scored one final point, effectively ending the match with a 7-5 victory.
Switzerland took on South Korea in a similar type of match. After a defensive struggle in the early goings, South Korea held a 2-0 lead heading into the fifth end.
That's when Switzerland and skip Mirjam Ott took over. The team scored two stones in the fifth and another three in the sixth to take a 5-2 lead. Over the next three ends, the teams traded two stones, with South Korea coming out on top in the seventh and ninth ends and the Swiss topping the Koreans in the eighth.
The Swiss led 7-6 heading into the final end. With South Korea holding the hammer, it appeared as though they would tie things up. However, their final rock missed the mark, as Switzerland earned one more stone, producing a final score of 8-6.
Team USA was a disappointment once again, as they conceded to Great Britain after the sixth end. The United States were clobbered here by a score of 12-3, in which Great Britain scored an Olympic recod seven points in one end.
In the session's final match, Japan crushed Denmark by a score of 8-3. Japan caused its opponent to concede the match after eight ends.
Men's Curling Session 3
Men's round-robin Session 3 was extremely eventful and full of exciting twists and turns on Tuesday. With three-of-four matches completing within one stone of each other, the competition continues to become more compelling with each passing day.
Here's a look at Tuesday's results:
After the Session 3 matches concluded, the standings were shuffled. One thing did not change; however, as Sweden remains at the top of the chart:
Norway took on host Russia in one of the more exciting matches of the day—however, it did not start out in such a manner. Norway got out to a huge lead, as the team earned five stones to Russia's one through the first four ends.
Here are the latest pants worn by Norway's curling team. These guys are the best (PHOTO). http://t.co/YnUXKIEP16— theScore (@theScore) February 11, 2014
The teams traded two-stone ends through the eighth and neither posted a score in the ninth. Russia entered the 10th end needing a miracle four stones to come away with the tie. Skip Andrey Drozdov almost got them there, as his flawless accuracy earned them three.
Russia's comeback bid fell just short, as the team finished the match losing by a score of 9-8.
Canada looked to right the ship against powerhouse Sweden on Tuesday. Entering the contest with a 1-1 record, the Canadians did all they could to avoid a second-straight loss.
In a back-and-forth battle with the Swedes, the match entered the 10th end tied at six stone a piece. However, Sweden held the hammer and put it to good use in the final end, earning a crucial stone which gave them the 7-6 victory.
Canadian skip Brad Jacobs spoke of the entertaining matchup with the Swedes during an interview with The Globe and Mail:
It was a well-played game by both teams and I'm sure it was great entertainment for the fans here and back home. We are playing well and getting better every game. It is a marathon and one game a day. We know it's a marathon and we're ready.
Great Britain and Germany also brought a dazzling performance to spectators, as these teams delivered a highly contested matchup.
After the eighth end, Great Britain found itself down two stones. They scored one in the ninth to tie the score and entered the 10th holding the hammer. Skip David Murdoch was steadfast when it mattered the most, earning a stone in the final end to come away victorious over the Germans by a score of 7-6.
The United States, however, continues to struggle.
Team USA has yet to win one match in the 2014 Olympics, continuing their drought with a 9-4 defeat at the hands of China on Tuesday. This team simply has not looked sharp over their firsts two contests and will need a miracle if they are to climb back into contention.
Vice skip Jeff Isaacson spoke of skip John Shuster's efforts in the team's second loss during an interview with Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune. Said Isaacson, "We've got to get [Shuster] a little more confident out there. I don’t think he had his best game. But we’ll just try and calm everyone down and try and get on the same page."
USA Curling a combined 0-4 at these Olympics so far. Yikes.— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) February 11, 2014
That will certainly have to happen quickly, as Team USA finds their Olympic run spiraling out of control.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.