Grand Slam of Curling: Masters

So, curling is back, and this past weekend the Masters was on. As per usual, I only watched the women’s draws, which Jennifer Jones won in a relatively close game over Kerri Einarson, who had to win the Tier 2 event at the Tour Challenge to even get an invite to the tournament and to get onto the main tour, so she’s doing pretty well. Einarson managed to defeat Val Sweeting and Rachel Homan on her way to going undefeated until the final. From what I can tell, right now she isn’t in the Olympic trials, and so has to go through the pre-trials to even make it to the trials, but her team is certainly playing well at the right time if they want to get that shot.

Val Sweeting seems to be repeating her arc from last year, as she won the Tour Challenge and then at the Masters absolutely struggled, not even winning a single game. It makes me wonder what it is about her game where she seems to be so hit and miss, either doing really well or really poorly. She does seem to manage to get a lot of points and wins because of steals, so maybe the problem is with her strategy, where she relies too much on her opponents missing and not enough on setting herself up for shots that she can make to score points. If her opponents don’t miss, then she has a hard time either setting herself up or getting herself out of trouble. As an example, in the Tour Challenge final she did just miss a few shots that got her in trouble early, but her comeback was driven at least as much by Hasselborg missing shots she should have made as by Sweeting starting to make shots. So maybe it is strategy that she’s lacking.

Rachel Homan is struggling as well. She’s the defending World Champion and certainly would want to be playing well heading into the Olympic trials, but the only team she beat this week was Val Sweeting’s, and she didn’t have a good showing at the Tour Challenge either. She will certainly want to turn this around heading to the trials.

The next event is the Nationals, in November.

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