Fleury, Einarson stay perfect to secure semifinal berths in Champions Cup curling

Manitoba’s Tracy Fleury and Kerri Einarson capped unbeaten preliminary rounds Saturday to secure semifinal berths in the Humpty’s Champions Cup Grand Slam curling event, while fellow Canadian Brad Gushue did the same on the men’s side.

Fleury edged Scotland’s Eve Muirhead 7-6 in an extra end to top the women’s Pool B with a 4-0 record.

Einarson, the reigning Canadian champ, notched her fourth win in as many tries with a 5-2 victory over Alina Kovaleva of Russia.

Gushue and his St. John’s rink also finished 4-0 after a 7-4 win over previously unbeaten Bruce Mouat of Scotland.

Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher (3-1) has the other men’s semifinal berth.

The four semifinalists will await survivors of tiebreakers and quarter-finals earlier Sunday. The finals are Monday.

Defending champ Tirinzoni playoff-bound

The Champions Cup is the first of two Grand Slams at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary featuring two dozen men’s and women’s domestic and international teams.

The Princess Auto Players’ Championship starts Tuesday. The combined prize purse of both bonspiels is $560,000.

Bottcher, who beat Kevin Koe to win last month’s Canadian championship, scratched out a 3-2 victory in an extra end over Jason Gunnlaugson (0-4) to clinch a playoff spot.

Defending champion Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland (3-1) was also playoff-bound after a 5-3 victory over reigning Olympic champion Anna Hasselborg of Sweden (0-4).

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