PICTOU COUNTY, N.S. — Jennifer Jones picked up a decisive win to start the KIOTI National as her team from Winnipeg and Altona, Man., look to maintain the momentum from the HearingLife Tour Challenge.
Jones, who captured her 10th women’s title in the Grand Slam of Curling last month, kicked off her run in the latest event of the series with a 10-3 victory over Stefania Constantini’s club from Italy in Draw 4 Tuesday night at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
In between Grand Slam events, Team Jones (with Chelsea Carey subbing at skip) reached another final, finishing runner-up in the Stu Sells 1824 Halifax Classic.
“I think that was a big win coming off a really great week with Chelsea and then the Grand Slam,” said Karlee Burgess, who throws third for Team Jones. “Sometimes it is a grind out there and winning that first one is a good start for the week, so I think it’s a huge win.”
Burgess is originally from nearby Truro and was looking forward to playing in front of family and friends here this week.
“That was our first game, but I thought we had a really good crowd. A couple people made the comment that we have lots of people on our side out there,” Burgess said. “It was a good crowd and it’s fun to have all of my family members here. I think I had like 10 family members here, so it’s pretty special. I’m excited for the week.”
Although Constantini started with the hammer, Jones jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to steals. Constantini was unable to get into the pocket by the button to give up two points in the first and then conceded a single in the second after misfiring an angle raise takeout.
An open hit for two in the third put Constantini on the board and Jones settled for a single in the fourth end to make it 4-2 heading into the break.
After forcing Constantini to a single in five, Jones broke the game wide open in six. Jones made a hard hit to scatter Constantini’s two rocks and count three of her own.
“I always have so much confidence in Jenn, so when she has a big shot she’s dialled in,” Burgess said. “But making that shot really broke the game open, so it was a game-changer for sure.”
Even with a four-point lead, Jones didn’t ease up and sat five stones in the house during the seventh. Constantini fired into the pile but jammed as Jones tacked another trio on the board and out came the handshakes.
Elsewhere, Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland and her squad took a 6-4 victory over Clancy Grandy’s club from Vancouver. Tirinzoni, who is ranked No. 1 in the world, captured her third title on tour this season by defeating Team Jones in the Stu Sells 1824 Halifax Classic final.
Satsuki Fujisawa’s team from Japan downed Tabitha Peterson’s club from the United States 11-1. Already up 4-1, Fujisawa stole five points in the fourth when Peterson misfired and took out her own stone in the house. Another steal in the fifth, for two points, iced the game early.
Eun-Ji Gim’s club from South Korea scored a 12-4 victory over Delaney Strouse’s team from the United States.
The KIOTI National resumes Wednesday with Draw 5 at 8:30 a.m. local time (AT).
Broadcast coverage begins Thursday at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT on Sportsnet and Sportsnet+.
The KIOTI National is the second event of the Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … Each team plays four round-robin games with the top eight advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals. … The semifinals are also on tap Saturday with both finals scheduled for Sunday.