Ottawa's Rachel Homan delivers a stone during Draw 13 Friday at the WestJet Players' Championship in Toronto. (Anil Mungal)

Homan tops Tirinzoni to wrap up Players’ Championship round robin

April 14, 2017, 10:09 PM

TORONTO — Ottawa’s Rachel Homan is looking forward to having a bit of break right now heading into the WestJet Players’ Championship playoffs.

Fresh off of winning the world title late last month and finishing runner-up this past weekend at the Canadian mixed doubles championship, Homan closed out round-robin play at the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament with a 6-4 set over Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland on Friday night.

Homan advances with a 4-1 record and has almost a full day off until the quarterfinals (Saturday 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet 360) where she will play Edmonton’s Val Sweeting.

“We’re really appreciating the rest right now that’s for sure,” said Homan, a five-time Grand Slam champion. “The more rest we get the better.”

With singles up, down and back again to start with Tirinzoni up 2-1 after three, the five-time Grand Slam champ Homan finally found an opening in the fourth end to draw for a deuce and pull ahead. A steal in the fifth end extended Homan’s lead 4-2.

Tirinzoni settled for another single in six and Homan padded her lead with another pair in seven. Facing two on her last in eight, Homan made a world championship-worthy shot with a rocket through the port to nudge her own and knock out a Tirinzoni stone to secure the win.

“I think the hole wasn’t so bad it was the fact that I had to hit half a rock,” Homan said. “That was tough. We had to skinny by the yellow to make it. It was a shot for the win, so we went for it and a great line call.

“We’re into the quarters and excited to be there.”

It was Homan’s second win of the day following a sneaky 6-5 victory earlier over Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson. Trailing 3-2, Homan stole back-to-back singles to take the lead after six and swiped two more in the seventh to lead by a couple then held on in eight giving up one.

Homan and John Morris earned silver at the mixed doubles nationals losing in the final to her teammate Joanne Courtney, who partnered with Reid Carruthers. Team Homan lead Lisa Weagle also competed at the event with John Epping.

Tirinzoni, who also finished at 4-1, takes on Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., in the quarterfinals. Super spare Cathy Overton-Clapham of Winnipeg is back in the Team Tirinzoni lineup at third with Manuela Siegrist still recovering from a knee injury. Overton-Clapham, a four-time Players’ winner, also filled in at the Boost National and Meridian Canadian Open this season and helped Tirinzoni finish runner-up in both events.

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Elsewhere, Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones rolled out to an 8-2 victory over Sweeting.

Although the five-time Players’ winner Jones (4-1) didn’t start with hammer, she took control of the game to start anyway stealing two points in the first end. Sweeting (3-2) managed to score a deuce in the second to tie it up, but that was the only offence she could get as it was all Jones from there.

It was a difficult third end for Sweeting as she just grazed Jones’ pair of stones at the top of the house on her first skip shot and Jones capitalized with an open hit to sit three. Sweeting’s last never even made it into the rings and Jones just had to hit the paint to score four.

Sweeting struggled to get back into it and gave up a steal in the fourth end to fall behind by five. Jones made a brilliant draw to bury her stone for shot on the edge of the button during the fifth and Sweeting had to made a tricky shot off a rock in the 12-foot to try and get to the button, but just couldn’t quite get there as it spun back at the end for another steal and handshakes.

Jones will go up against double defending champ Eve Muirhead of Scotland during the quarters in a rematch of last year’s final.

Tracy Fleury (4-1) of Sudbury, Ont., made it through as the top seed and awaits the winner of a tiebreaker between Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg and Allison Flaxey of Caledon, Ont.

Sigfridsson played the spoiler scoring three in the eighth and stealing two in the extra end to eliminate China’s Bingyu Wang 9-7. Both teams ended at 1-4 records.

Carruthers lives to play another day crushing Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock 11-3 in the men’s tiebreaker. The Winnipeg native, who threw 99 percent, cruised out to a four-score in the second, took two in the fourth and wrapped things up with a five-count in the sixth with limiting Laycock to just singles.

Morris and his Vernon, B.C., team await Carruthers in the tiebreaker draw Saturday at 11 a.m. ET (admission is free).

The winner of that game meets top-seed Mike McEwen of Winnipeg. Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., plays Calgary’s Kevin Koe; Peter de Cruz of Switzerland takes on Sweden’s Niklas Edin; and Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., goes up against Scotland’s Kyle Smith.

TV coverage resumes Saturday at 3 p.m. ET with the men’s quarterfinals on CBC and online at Sportsnet NOW.

NOTES: The WestJet Players’ Championship is the fourth major and sixth event of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season and runs through to Sunday at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre. … The Rogers Grand Slam Cup will be awarded to the overall season champions following the conclusion of the WestJet Players’ Championship. … Winners of the WestJet Players’ Championship will earn berths to the Humpty’s Champions Cup running April 25-30 in Calgary.