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Canada stays perfect to advance to world women’s curling final

Canada's Rachel Homan releases the stone during their match against Russia at the Women's Curling World Championships in Beijing on March 24, 2017.

GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

Canada's Rachel Homan has every reason to feel confident as she prepares for the title game at the world women's curling championship.

The Ottawa skip has yet to lose at the Capital Gymnasium. Homan's latest victory — a 7-3 win over Russia's Anna Sidorova in the Page playoff 1-2 game — gave her a berth in Sunday's final.

One more victory will give Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle their first world women's title. They could also become the first team in event history to go unbeaten through the competition.

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"It feels unreal," Homan said. "We're excited to be in the final for Canada. You never know what's going to happen but we're going to battle hard for gold for Canada. We'll be trying our hardest, that's for sure and it would mean the world to us (to win).

"We're really excited that we've made it so far."

Canada hasn't won world women's gold since Jennifer Jones's triumph in 2008 at Vernon, B.C. Homan won world bronze in 2013 in Riga and silver the following year in Saint John, N.B.

On Friday, Homan was heavy with a draw for a deuce in the second end and settled for a single. Sidorova struck back with two in the third but Homan answered with an open draw for two.

Homan extended her lead to 4-2 with a single in the fifth then forced Sidorova to draw for one in the sixth against three Canadian counters. Homan followed with singles in the next three ends for the victory.

"I think we made a lot of key shots that game," said Miskew. "The ice was a little different than it has been all week and that always happens in the playoffs when there's only one game out there.

"But I thought we did a nice job of making the right shots when we needed to."

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Russia will get a second shot at reaching the final in Saturday night's semifinal. Sidorova will play the winner of the Page playoff 3-4 game earlier in the day between Scotland's Eve Muirhead and Sweden's Anna Hasselborg.

Sidorova shot just 69 per cent on the day while Homan was at 90 per cent.

"I think the team felt too nervous," Sidorova said. "The good thing about qualifying in first or second place is you have two chances to go to the final. We still have a chance."

The 3-4 loser and semifinal loser will play for bronze Sunday.

Only two teams have posted unbeaten round-robin records at this event. Canada's Colleen Jones did it in 2003 in Winnipeg and Sweden's Anette Norberg did it in 2005 in Paisley, Scotland.

Jones settled for silver while Norberg took the gold after dropping the Page 1-2 game.

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"We're really happy that we put ourselves in a position where we know we're getting a medal now," Miskew said. "Nothing to lose now. We can just go out and play our game."

Switzerland entered the tournament as the three-time defending champion but skip Alina Paetz did not make the playoffs after posting a 5-6 round-robin record.

In 2014, Homan ran the table at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. The only other skip to win the national women's title with an unbeaten record was Linda Moore in 1985.

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