It’s RCF versus defending champions Switzerland for the 2021 world women’s curling championship title.
Both teams finished atop the standings in the round robin, the Swiss at 12-1 and RCF at 11-2.
In their round robin tilt, the Swiss won 8-6.
In Saturday semifinal play, Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni handled the U.S. team skipped by Tabitha Peterson by a 7-3 scoreline while RCF’s Alina Kovaleva upset Swden’s Anna Hasselborg by an 8-7 count.
The Americans were simply outgunned. Trailing 3-2 in the sixth end, USA forced the Swiss to single but then dropped a killer steal of two in the seventh to fall behind 6-2.
In the other semi, RCF dropped a massive four-ender on Sweden and followed up with a steal to hold a 6-1 lead at the midway point. Hasselborg, the 2018 Olympic champions, struck back with a three-ender in the sixth and added a deuce in the eighth frame following an RCF steal, but it was too little, too late.
RCF is the team’s designated reference this season after decisions taken by the World Anti-Doping Agency to impose two years of sanctions following a state-sanctioned doping scandal.
If RCF wins the title, and a closing ceremony allows for a national anthem, the music is expected to be selected from the composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky as the Russian national anthem is also banned from world championship competition.
The International Olympic Committee recently confirmed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 will be played for Russian gold medalists at Tokyo 2020 and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Kovaleva is appearing in her second world final. She played front end on Anna Sidorova’s 2017 Russian team which lost the championship final 8-3 to Canada’s Rachel Homan.
The success of the RCF women comes after the RCF men’s stunning performance at the worlds in April. The squad skipped by Sergey Glukhov went 11-2 to qualify for the semifinal round before losing two close playoff games to finish fourth.
Switzerland’s Tirinzoni and fourth thrower Alina Paetz won the last world championship played in 2019, defeating Hasselborg 8-7 in the final. Paetz also captured the 2105 world title with a 5-3 victory over Canada’s Jennifer Jones in the final.
Sweden and USA will also play Sunday for the bronze medal.