Team Muirhead advance to semis

Salisbury Journal: Great Britain's women's curlers are through to the semi-finals (AP) Great Britain's women's curlers are through to the semi-finals (AP)

Great Britain's women's curling team progressed to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics semi-finals on Monday as they concluded their round-robin campaign with victory over Russia and then defeat to Denmark.

Eve Muirhead's world champion rink of Scots had emerged from the morning session, in which they beat the Russians 9-6, lying third and guaranteed of a tie-breaker for a last-four spot at least.

It was then confirmed by the start of their later fixture that they had definitely made it straight into the semis, due to that final session's pre-game draw shots and the average it left them with for the round-robin stage in comparison to their rivals.

When the encounter with Denmark got under way, GB had a 3-2 lead after an opening five ends in which both rinks had stolen twos, and Team Muirhead subsequently posted three in the seventh before stealing another point in the eighth to go 7-4 ahead.

Victory looked assured but GB allowed the Danes, in possession of the hammer, to register three in the 10th, forcing an extra end that Lene Nielsen's rink stole a point from to wrap up an 8-7 triumph when Muirhead misjudged her final stone delivery.

Ending up fourth in the round-robin rankings, GB will meet unbeaten Canada in the last four.

If they had managed to secure a win against Denmark rather than sink to their fourth loss of the campaign, the British rink would have come third and faced defending Olympic champions Sweden, who finished second with seven victories from their nine games, in the last four.

But regarding the way things had panned out, skip Muirhead said: "We came out here with a couple of goals and number one was to make that top four, whether it was in first or fourth. So we are super happy.

"Yes, we didn't finish the way we wanted to in that game there, but I would rather lose that game than lose a knock-out game."

Asked if the team had known at the start of the Denmark game they were already through to the semis, the 23-year-old said: "Roughly, we kind of knew.

"But I didn't want to look into that too much, and we were fully concentrated on the game.

"The ice was slightly tricky tonight, but we played well.

"We had a slack last couple of ends, but I would rather have those ends there, bin it and move on and really come out solid in the semi-final."

On the prospect of the clash with Canada - who they lost 9-6 to in the round-robin stage on Wednesday - Muirhead added: "We've played Jennifer (Jones, the Canadian skip) a lot on tour - we meet her all the time and it is always a really close game against her.

"We will be really looking forward to that.

"I know we are going to have the whole of Britain behind us and hopefully we can do them proud."

Sweden will meet third-placed Switzerland in the other semi-final.

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