SOCHI, Russia — Switzerland defeated the U.S., 7-4, in the opening round of women's curling at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Switzerland has been in contention for the medals at major tournaments in recent years and the 2012 world champions recovered from going 2-0 behind after three ends to beat a U.S. team skipped by Erika Brown in her third and probably final Olympics.
"We struggled with Erika's rocks a bit," said U.S. player Debbie McCormick. "They were going a little straighter than the rest of ours and I think that got us into some trouble."
In other matches Monday, Sweden landed an early psychological blow in the women's curling tournament by beating big rival Britain 6-4 in a tense, strategic opening game between two favorites for the title.
The Swedes hugged and waved to their small contingent of travelling fans at one end of the Ice Cube Curling Center after winning what, for many, was a rehearsal for the Feb. 20 final against Britain's world champion team.
"It's nice to beat them," Sweden skip Margaretha Sigfridsson said. "But we usually meet them more than once during a championship so we will meet them again.
"The final, maybe."
For a statement of intent, though, look no further than Canada.
Jennifer Jones' team crushed 2010 bronze-medalist China 9-2 in a shortened game that was conceded after just seven of 10 ends because of the large differential.
"I couldn't have asked for a better start," Jones said.
Russia delighted its raucous fans by defeating Denmark 6-4 in the other first round-robin game.
The curlers struggled to make themselves heard on the ice as Russian supporters made a thunderous noise inside the 3,000-seat arena.