Scotland made the perfect start to the World Mixed Curling Championships on home ice with an impressive 7-2 victory over Italy.
In front of a home crowd in Aberdeen, the Scots – skipped by Luke Carson – burst into an early lead when they took three in the second end before stealing two in the seventh helped seal a convincing win.
England cruised to a 7-4 triumph over Austria and Ireland were similarly impressive in beating Slovenia 8-5, while Japan routed Luxembourg 11-3.
It was a similarly simple victory for Finland – who took three points in the second, third, fifth and seventh ends to beat Belgium 12-5 – but France and Korea went to an extra end.
The French took one in the eighth to force that extra end but Korea took advantage of having the hammer to claim a 6-5 success.
In the opening session of the day, Canada got the defence of their title off to a perfect start with a thrilling 6-3 victory over Germany.
The Canadians – skipped by Colin Kurz – were 2-0 down through three ends but took two in the fourth end, then won two more against the head in the fifth to turn the contest around.
The Germans, led by Olympian and former world silver medal winner Andy Kapp, narrowed the deficit to one point by drawing to the four-foot for a single but Kurz and co sealed the win in the eighth and final end.
Elsewhere in the opening session, there were huge victories for Hungary and Kazakhstan – who beat Brazil 14-2 and Latvia 12-5 respectively – while Estonia thumped World Mixed debutants Nigeria 16-1.
The clash between Belarus and Hong Kong was far more tense but the Belarusians took one in the seventh and then stole two against the head in the eighth end to pinch a 6-4 triumph.
Kosovo were due to play Slovakia in the opening session but were forced to forfeit due to travel issues, meaning the Slovakians were handed the win.