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USA Surprise Canada as Olympic Playoffs Near

USA's John Shuster stayed alive in the Olympic Men's Curling playoff chase with a 9-7 extra-end win over Canada.

Gangneung, Republic of Korea - Both United States - with a 9-7 win over Canada - and Great Britain, who beat Denmark by 7-6, kept their semi-final qualification hopes alive in Monday afternoon's ninth session of men's round-robin play at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

Despite a 10-3 loss to Switzerland, other results meant that Sweden became the first semi-final qualifiers of the men's competition.

Korea beat Italy by 8-6 in the fourth game of the session, with Japan and Norway off the ice.

United States took a 4-3 lead into the break in their game against Canada. They moved further ahead with a steal of one point when a run-back attempt by Canada's skip Kevin Koe didn't work out.

However, Canada fought back and levelled the score at 5-5 with a single-point steal in the eighth end. United States moved ahead again when their skip John Shuster played a tap-back for two points in the ninth end, only to be matched by Canada's Koe in the tenth end, whose two points tied the game again, at 7-7 and forced an extra end.

Eventually, Shuster played a hit and stay with his last stone of the extra end to score two points and win by 9-7 keeping his team's slender qualification hopes alive.

Great Britain were involved in another tight game, against Denmark. The Danes started with last stone advantage and scored every time that had it. But Britain matched them end-by-end, and the teams were tied four times during the game.

The Danes moved into a 6-5 lead with a single point in the ninth end, but in the tenth end, an early Danish take-out jammed on the wing and British skip Kyle Smith was able to split the house and cause his opponents problems. With his last stone, Denmark's skip Rasmus Stjerne just missed on a double take-out attempt, leaving Smith with a draw into the house for two points and a 7-6 win.

Switzerland faced undefeated table-toppers Sweden in this session and moved out into a 4-0 lead with scores in each of the first three ends.

Sweden then scored two points in the fourth end to reduce the Swiss lead to 4-2, but later in the game Sweden's skip Niklas Edin wrecked his final draw of the seventh end to leave Switzerland's fourth player Benoit Schwarz with a straightforward draw to score five points from the end, lead by 10-3, and force Sweden to concede.

In the fourth game of the session hosts Korea produced a crowd-pleasing 8-6 win over Italy but both of these teams - on two wins and five losses - are effectively out of the running for the semi-finals along with Denmark.

These results mean that, on six wins and just one loss, Sweden have qualified for the semi-finals. The race to join them sees Switzerland now in a clear second place on five wins, while Canada and Great Britain are tied in third place on four wins and three losses.

Japan and Norway each have three wins in joint fifth place, but both have played one game less than the other teams. Behind them sit United States on three wins and four losses, still battling to make progress.

The men's round-robin continues with the session ten games tomorrow (Tuesday 20 February 2018) morning at 09:05 Korean Standard Time (KST).

Men session nine results: Italy 6-8 Korea; Sweden 3-10 Switzerland; United States 9-7 Canada; Great Britain 7-6 Denmark.

Standings after men session nine (win-loss):

Sweden 6-1 Q
Switzerland 5-2
Canada 4-3
Great Britain 4-3
Japan 3-3
Norway 3-3
United States 3-4
Denmark 2-5
Italy 2-5
Korea 2-5

Q = Qualified for the semi-finals

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