Hosts Czech Republic among winners as Olympic Qualification event kicks off
China, Russia, the Czech Republic and Italy got their bids for PyeongChang up and running with victories at this evening's Olympic Qualification Event in Pilsen.
In the first round of round robin matches in the battle to secure the final two berths in the men's competition in PyeongChang in February, hosts the Czech Republic were among the four teams to make winning starts.
China, skipped by Liu Rui, were the evening's first victors after they cruised to a 7-4 win over Germany.
The Chinese opened up a comfortable 3-0 cushion after two ends and although Alexander Baumann's German team would go on to make to make it 3-2 in the third, Rui and co roared back again.
They picked up another three points in the fourth end and went on to triumph by that margin, despite Germany winning the eighth 1-0.
Russia also got their campaign off to a successful start by defeating Denmark 6-3 with a late flourish.
A tense contest saw Aleksey Timofeev's side win the seventh end 2-0 to lead the match 3-2 but the Danes came back in the eighth to level matters at 3-3.
However, the Russians had saved their best for last and they dominated the ninth end 3-0 to see get themselves off to the perfect start.
The Czech Republic kept their heads above water to beat Finland 5-3, the hosts, who led 3-0 after six ends and 3-1 after eight, being pegged back to 3-3 in the ninth.
A 2-0 triumph in the tenth end proved sufficient for the Czechs, skipped by Jiri Snitil, to get themselves over the line.
Italy held their nerve to edge a thrilling contest with the Netherlands 7-6.
The two sides continually traded blows, with the Netherlands seeing their advantage extinguished time and again.
They led 6-5 after eight ends but a drawn ninth and then a 2-0 Italian win in the tenth settled matters.