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Canada clinches first in mixed doubles curling ahead of Olympic semifinals

Canada's John Morris sweeps the ice during a mixed doubles curling match against China at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Canada's John Morris sweeps the ice during a mixed doubles curling match against China at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

GANGNEUNG, Korea, Republic Of — Canada's Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris clinched first in round-robin play in mixed doubles curling on Sunday at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Canadians beat South Korea's Hyeji Jang and Kijeong Lee 7-3 to finish the round robin 6-1.

Lawes and Morris dropped the first game of the tournament to Norway 9-6 on Thursday before reeling off six straight victories.

After Korea tied it 2-2 with a deuce in the third end the Canadians replied with a deuce in the fourth and never looked back.

Eight teams are taking part in mixed curling at the Olympics, with the top four qualifying for the medal round.

Canada had already locked up a semifinal berth with an 8-2 win over Olympic Athletes from Russia on Saturday.

The Canadians will play the fourth-place team on Monday with the bronze-medal and gold-medal games happening later that day.

Traditional men's and women's curling has been at the Olympics since 1998, but mixed doubles — a faster and sometimes seemingly more chaotic incarnation of the sport — is making its debut at the 2018 Winter Games.

Each team is comprised of one male and one female, and there are six stones in play instead of the usual eight. Games are eight ends instead of 10.

Canada has made the mixed doubles podium just twice at the world championships, grabbing a silver in 2017 and a bronze in 2009.

Ottawa's Morris won Olympic gold in 2010 playing third for Kevin Martin, while Winnipeg's Lawes topped the podium in 2014 as vice for Jennifer Jones.

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