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Denmark deliver glad tidings as Murdoch's men remain in hunt

The British curling men are still in the medal hunt despite going down by 6-5 to China in their last round-robin game yesterday and they can thank Denmark, who beat Norway 5-3 for keeping their hopes alive.

These results moved China into third place and they will play Canada in tomorrow's semi-final, while the British team face Norway again this morning to settle who finishes fourth and goes on to face table-topping Sweden in the other semi.

The match between China and Britain was tight all the way. The advantage of last stone in the first end was won on a coin toss by China when the pre-game draw-shots by each skip that normally decide which team has last stone were measured as absolutely equal. The teams were level at 3-3 after six ends and again, at 5-5, after nine ends. In the tenth end, British skip David Murdoch tapped out a Chinese stone with his own last stone to lie two points, but China's skip Rui Liu drew inside both of these stones to score the one point needed for the 6-5 win that put his team into the semi-finals.

"We're still in," said a delighted Murdoch. "In some ways it's bitter-sweet. We've wanted to get over that finish line and it didn't happen there. The Chinese guy was on fire. It's tough when you're up against a skip that's making everything."

With regard to the Norway game, Murdoch added: "Actually I didn't even know what had happened until our rock finished. Then I looked over and saw the scoreboard, I had no idea what was going on, you're very focussed on what you're doing. We're still in, Denmark have done us a favour and we've got another chance to get over the line."

Meanwhile, the British women beat Russia 9-6 yesterday morning and then finished their round-robin programme by losing against Denmark 8-7 after an extra end, a result that puts them into fourth place and a semi-final against Canada.

Eve Muirhead's side opened the scoring in the second end with one point but the teams were tied at 6-6 after six ends and, after blanking the seventh end, Britain scored a game-changing four points when Muirhead had a simple tap-out on an open Russian stone to score four points and take a 7-3 lead. The Russians fought back in the ninth, scoring three points to reduce Britain's lead to just one point at 7-6, but Muirhead sealed victory for her team with a double take-out to score two points for the end and win by 9-6.

"We're really pleased with that. It was always going to be a tough game against Russia, they're one of our big European rivals," said Muirhead. "We had a bit of a turning point in the eighth end getting that four, but it was always going to be a game of patience."

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