Olympics: China's curlers make semi-finals for first time

China's skip Liu Rui (left) watches as teammates Zang Jialiang (front right) and Ba Dexin sweep during their men's curling round robin game against Canada in the Ice Cube Curling Centre at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games on Feb 16, 2014.  --
China's skip Liu Rui (left) watches as teammates Zang Jialiang (front right) and Ba Dexin sweep during their men's curling round robin game against Canada in the Ice Cube Curling Centre at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games on Feb 16, 2014.  -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SOCHI, Russia (AFP) - China reached the Olympic men's curling semi-finals for the first time on Monday thanks to a 6-5 win over Great Britain, just four years after they could only manage eighth place in Vancouver.

Skip Liu Rui led his team into the medal round with a 7-2 win/loss record, which was bettered only by 2013 world champions Sweden, who finished the preliminary round with an 8-1 record.

Defeat gave Great Britain a 5-4 record and they must now beat Norway on Tuesday to reach the next stage.

Norway squandered a chance to reach the semi-finals when they lost 5-3 to Denmark.

In the women's event, Switzerland and Great Britain completed the women's semi-final line-up.

Switzerland won their semi-final eliminator, removing Vancouver 2010 bronze medallist China with a 10-6 victory, and will play Sweden for a place in the final on Wednesday.

Britain took the last available semi-final spot despite losing 8-7 to Denmark in an extra end.

The 2013 world champions will play Canada in the other semi-final on Wednesday.

"We came out here to make the top four and we're super happy. We didn't finish the game the way we would have liked but we'll move on," said British skip, Eve Muirhead.

"We played well but had a slack couple of last ends but we'd rather it happen in that match than on Wednesday.

"After our first couple of games I would have taken a semi-final slot, you can't complain about the semi-finals of the Olympics." With a 9-4 victory over South Korea, Jennifer Jones' Canada became the first women's team to go through an Olympics round-robin unbeaten with a 9-0 record.

In the session's other game, Japan lost their chance of forcing a semi-final tiebreaker when they lost 8-4 to already-qualified Sweden.

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