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Grand Slam Breakthrough for USA's Jamie Sinclair

USA's Jamie Sinclair becomes the first American team to reach Grand Slam final after defeating Silvana Tirinzoni 5-4 on Saturday night.

By Price Atkinson

TORONTO - What a wild ride for Team USA's Jamie Sinclair. So close, yet so far.

But now Team Sinclair is on the cusp of finally scaling the mountain after defeating Silvana Tirinzoni 5-4 in the semifinals of the Players' Championship at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

"it's been the hardest season to date. A fantastic season but emotionally tough," Sinclair said immediately after coming off the ice. "We are very excited and happy to have this opportunity tomorrow. We've made it two steps farther then we have in a Grand Slam playoff before. So even if it ends there, we are excited for the opportunity to learn and progress to a new level."

Sinclair's rink came up just short of their Olympic dream, losing in the final game of a best-of-three series to Nina Roth at the United States Olympic Trials last November. At the recent World Championship in North Bay, Team Sinclair battled their way to a 6-6 round robin mark and took the sixth and final playoff spot in North Bay.

They throttled the "Garlic Girls" in the quarterfinals before losing to Jennifer Jones in the semis. The Russians led by Victoria Moiseeva barely clipped Sinclair on the final rock of the game to win the bronze at Worlds.

Despite being so close to a medal in her first World Championship, Sinclair wanted much more. But to get that first taste of a championship, the Americans had to get past Switzerland's Olympic team in the semis tonight.

Starting with hammer, Sinclair got her deuce in the second before Tirinzoni was forced to a single in the fourth. Team USA built a 3-1 lead with a single in the sixth. The Swiss tied it in the seventh before Sinclair won it in the final end.

"It was a battle out there," Sinclair said. "We got an early lead but they put a ton of pressure on us in the last half. We were just happy to be in a great situation the in the last end, tied with and Monica (Walker) made two perfect ticks that set us up really well."

Tomorrow will be a Team Sinclair showdown with Canadian nemesis and reigning world champion Jennifer Jones. Seeking to claim her first-ever title at a Grand Slam, Sinclair is more worried about her squad than Jones.

"I think we just need to play our own game and not focus on our opponent," Sinclair said. "We had some fantastic games against them at Worlds so we just need to start strong and put some pressure on her."

Tomorrow's final will take place at 5:00 pm (EST) at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

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