GB face curling play-off
Great Britain's men's curling team will contest a play-off with Norway for a place in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics semi-finals after both suffered defeat in Monday's nervy final session of the round-robin stage.
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GB began their match against China knowing a win would guarantee them a play-off spot at least, and that it would be enough for straight progression to the last four should Norway be beaten by Denmark - but that a loss coupled with a Norwegian triumph would see them eliminated.
As it turned out, victory proved elusive for David Murdoch's all-Scottish rink from a tight encounter after the Chinese stole a crucial point in the eighth end to move 5-3 ahead, with GB pulling two back in the ninth before their opponents settled it 6-5 in the 10th with the final stone.
But by the time that match had finished, the Norwegians had already fallen to a 5-3 reverse to the Danes.
It means Norway and GB finish the 10-team round-robin stage in joint-fourth, each with records of five wins from nine fixtures.
The play-off between them takes place on Tuesday, and Norway head into it having won 7-6 in the round-robin meeting. Sweden, Canada and China have qualified for the semis in first to third positions.
The winner of the play-off will face the Swedes, who are reigning world champions and beat GB 8-4 in the round-robin stage, in the last four.
Murdoch claimed the tie-break left him with mixed feelings, despite his rink finishing the round-robin section of the competition with three defeats.
"In some ways it is bitter-sweet because we've wanted to get over the finish line for a while and we've just not managed it," he said.
"The Chinese guy (Liu Rui) was on fire there. It's tough when you are up against a skip who is making everything.
"We knew we had a lot of tough games at the end. We knew we needed to win one of them but unfortunately we didn't, but we have just got to take what we have got.
"We're not out, so we're not going to be too downbeat about things. We are still in this and a certain curler from GB won coming from this spot before, so we will see what happens.
"We have a good record against these guys (Norway). Obviously we didn't win this week against them, but we actually quite enjoy playing against them.
"We're used to their style of game, we know what we're going to get and what to exploit.
"They know our game very well but, if we play like that, I am pretty confident we will win the game."
The "certain curler" Murdoch was referring to was Team GB's current women's curling coach, Rhona Howie.
Under her former name, Rhona Martin, she skipped the British team to their most recent gold medal in the sport, at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002.
However, her rink had to win two tie-break matches just to reach the semi-finals.
Murdoch believes his task will be no less difficult due to the rising standard of opposition in modern-day curling, exemplified by China.
"To be honest it was only a matter of time before they emerged, we knew they would come good eventually," he said.
"The standard of this Olympic Games is the highest I've ever seen.
"Look at the teams out there, look at Denmark beating Norway, the standard is incredibly high, that's the way it is. Curling is a tough sport."
Norway's Haavard Vad Petersson knows there will be few secrets between the two rinks when they line up against each other on Tuesday.
He said: "We've had about 200 battles against Murdoch. We beat them in the round-robin but we lost to them in Europeans a couple of months ago, so it's going to be a close one. Both teams have a good chance. "
Team mate Christoffer Svae was "just happy we've got another chance", but remains confident of making it through to the last four.
"We will have to play better than we have done so far," he said. "But in the last couple of years, we have won more than we've lost against them.
"They have a tendency to play much better at championships. It seems like they care more. But we won the last time (in round robin), so I think it will be pretty close."