Anna Hasselborg shoots a stone during the Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask. (Anil Mungal)

Hasselborg, Fleury deliver in Canadian Open Draw 12

January 6, 2017, 8:08 PM

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg has advanced to the playoffs at the Meridian Canadian Open with a 4-2 win over Michelle Englot’s Winnipeg team Friday.

Hasselborg held the hammer coming home up one, but missed the mark with her first skip stone and Englot jumped on the opportunity with an in-turn draw to lie two. Knowing she had to bounce back big time with her last, Hasselborg delivered with a clutch in-turn draw of her own to grab shot rock.

The teams alternated singles in two and three to start and Hasselborg built a two-point lead with another point in four followed by a steal in five. Englot was held to just one in six and Hasselborg blanked seven to retain the hammer for the final frame.

“Obviously it’s huge to have the hammer in this kind of game,” Hasselborg said. “Michelle Englot is a really good draw player so you knew it would be singles back and forth all of the time. The steal there was pretty huge and made a big difference for us and then going home with the hammer in eighth that is great to have, obviously. Since I missed my first one I had to pull a big one out of the pocket.”

Hasselborg rebounded from a disappointing finish at last month’s Boost National where she missed the playoffs to qualify for the third time this season in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling series.

“We have been in four Slams this season and to qualify in three it feels so amazing,” Hasselborg said. “You always have to be at your top game. We lost in the tiebreakers in the last one and it’s always tough. We just felt we were playing pretty good anyway but this one we have been playing better and better all the time and we’re really happy to qualify.”

Englot drops to the C-side and will play Tracy Fleury, who also made a sick shot nailing an angle raise double takeout for the winning single with just 17 seconds left on the clock to knockout China’s Bingyu Wang 5-4.

“It was really exciting but we didn’t have much time left on our clock,” Fleury said. “I had to kind of rush and hope for the best and yeah it was a great finish. A little bit too close for comfort but it worked out.”

Fleury, of Sudbury, Ont., lives to play another day and has been living dangerously in the C brackets after dropping her first couple games but now levelling her record at 2-2.

“It feels great,” Fleury said. “It feels like we have a bit of momentum now and we’re looking forward to our game tomorrow.”

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Defending champ Rachel Homan of Ottawa also drew even to a 2-2 record stealing all the way to a 6-0 shutout over Winnipeg’s Briane Meilleur. Homan never held the hammer taking one in the first, another in the second, and pairs in the fourth and sixth ends.

Meanwhile, Allison Flaxey of Caledon, Ont., is also through to the quarterfinals topping Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque 7-3.

The door was open for Flaxey, the WFG Masters champ, to hit her own guard into the house and also roll in the shooter for three and she capitalized to take an early three-point lead.

Rocque was forced to draw for only one in the third but picked up another point in the fourth when Flaxey attempted a double runback but didn’t get the second counter, which stayed put for shot rock.

Flaxey took two in the fifth to extend her lead to three. Rocque attempted a double but only ticked the second allowing Flaxey to ease her last into the house for a deuce. With Rocque sitting shot in six and a ton of rocks in play clogging up the lanes, the two-time world junior champion looked to hit an off of one from the edge and spin in for a deuce, but missed and just counted the single.

Flaxey added two more in seven to bring out handshakes.

Rocque will play Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., who downed Winnipeg’s Kerri Einarson 7-4 to eliminate the Boost National champion in C.

NOTES: The Meridian Canadian Open is the fourth event and third major of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. … Teams must win three games before they lose three in order to qualify for the playoffs. … Winners of the Meridian Canadian Open earn spots for the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup taking place at the end of April in Calgary.