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Switzerland clinches spot in mixed doubles gold medal game

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It came down to the final stone.

With a spot in the mixed doubles gold medal game on the line and his team trailing Switzerland by a point in the eighth frame, the Olympic Athletes from Russia’s Aleksandr Krushelnitckii had one final chance to tie the score.

After Krushelnitckii sent the game’s last shot forward, he and partner Anastasia Bryzgalova elected not to sweep. The pair watched as the stone rolled through the open house, sealing a 7-5 win for Switzerland in the semifinal matchup Monday morning at the Gangneung Curling Centre.

The team from Switzerland – made up of Jenny Perret and Martin Rios – will face Canada, which defeated Norway on Sunday night, for the mixed doubles curling Olympic championship.

“(The OAR) made a lot of shots,” Rios said to reporters after the game. “This time we were the lucky winners. That's it. They should be proud of themselves. They're a great team."

Switzerland opened the game with two points in the first end, but the OAR quickly answered with two of its own in the next frame.

Switzerland scored a point in each of the next two ends to regain an advantage before the OAR again evened the match when it tallied two points in the fifth. The OAR followed with a steal in the next end to grab its first lead.  

Switzerland activated its power play in the seventh and took advantage. It registered two points to swing the scoreboard back in its favor and clinched a spot in the gold medal game when Krushelnitckii’s last attempt slid out of the scoring zone.

“I made a couple of mistakes in (ends) five and six,” Rios said. “But in the end Jenny (Perret) was there when the pressure was on, as always. Big credit on her."

The OAR and Switzerland both entered their semifinal matchup with a 4-3 record. Switzerland also topped the OAR when the teams met in the last game of round robin play.

Switzerland and Canada will face off for the first ever mixed doubles Olympic gold medal Tuesday at 6:05 a.m. ET. Switzerland fell to Canada 7-2 when the teams matched up Feb. 10.  

The Canadians hold the tournament’s top overall seed and have not lost since their opening round-robin contest. They enter the championship match on a seven-game winning streak.

“Last time we played them (Canada) we weren't really on the ice, so we’ll just try to give our best. That's it," Rios said. “We’ll fight like hell for two hours, or eight ends, and then see what happens."

Switzerland has won six of the last 10 mixed doubles world championships, including the 2017 title.

The OAR will play Norway for the bronze medal Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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