Japan's Satsuki Fujisawa shoots a stone during the 2018 Players' Championship in Toronto. (Anil Mungal)

Fujisawa tops Team Rocque in Players’ Championship tiebreaker

April 14, 2018, 10:36 AM

TORONTO — Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa nabbed the eighth and final women’s playoff spot at the Players’ Championship.

Team Fujisawa, who earned bronze at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, downed Edmonton’s Team Rocque, skipped by Laura Crocker, 8-3 during Saturday morning’s tiebreaker at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Fujisawa advances to the quarterfinals and will face Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones. The defending champion grabbed the top seed with an unblemished 5-0 round-robin record.

The other women’s quarterfinals feature Scotland’s Eve Muirhead meeting Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni, Winnipeg’s Kerri Einarson versus American Nina Roth and Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg taking on American Jamie Sinclair.

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Fujisawa controlled the tiebreaker match from the start opening with the hammer and tapping for two in the first.

Crocker, who is originally from nearby Scarborough, Ont., drew for a point in the second. Fujisawa had to jump in and help her sweepers with their last rock of the third end to draw for another deuce and grab a 4-1 lead.

After Crocker matched with a draw for two in the fourth to close back within one, Fujisawa re-established the three-point gap in five. Crocker missed on a double attempt allowing Fujisawa to capitalize and only needing to ease in her last to count a couple.

It looked like a tie, and therefore a blank, in the sixth following three spins around with the measuring stick before Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling competition director Pierre Charette brought out the laser and awarded a stolen point to Fujisawa.

Crocker hit and rolled out with her last in the seventh to concede another and shook hands.

Kelsey Rocque was unable to make it to the event, Crocker moved up to fourth and Kendra Lilly from Thunder Bay’s Team McCarville filled in at third. Crocker will be heading to Sweden later this month with Kirk Muyres to represent Canada in the world mixed doubles championship.

It was the final game together for Team Rocque too with Crocker skipping a new squad next season with Nicole Sigvaldason, Brittany Tran and Heather Rogers while McDonald heads to Winnipeg to join Allison Flaxey, Kate Cameron and Raunora Westcott.

Rocque will play with Danielle Schmiemann, Rebecca Konschuh and Jesse Iles.

The Players’ Championship women’s quarterfinals are at 3:30 p.m. ET. Watch on CBC.

The men’s side is set with Calgary’s Kevin Koe clashing with Toronto’s John Epping, Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., going up against Scotland’s Bruce Mouat, Sweden’s Niklas Edin taking on Scotland’s Kyle Smith and Jason Gunnlaugson meeting Mike McEwen in an all-Winnipeg battle. Watch on Sportsnet at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Both men’s and women’s semifinals go down at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet 360.

Watch all three playoff draws online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare TV (international).

The Players’ Championship is the sixth event and fourth major of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season.