Defending champions China put a slow start firmly behind them to become the first team to book a spot in the Wheelchair Curling semi-finals on Thursday (10 March).
The reigning world and Paralympic champions qualified for the playoffs - with a game in hand - by beating Great Britain 6-3 at the National Aquatics Centre in the morning to claim their seventh victory of the round robin stage.
The host nation had to overcome early jitters and the pressure of performing on home ice after opening their Beijing 2022 campaign with two losses. Since then, however, the team has gone from strength to strength, and are now riding high.
China’s Zhuo Yan said: "At first, we were not used to playing on a big stage like this, where we face strong opponents. With each game, we gained experience and gradually improved."
"It’s impossible for there to be no pressure, but we’re feeling OK now," Zhang Mingliang said. "It’s a competition after all, there is bound to be nerves."
"Since the first game, everyone, including the coaches, has been busy making adjustments. We are getting better and we grow more and more confident with each game. We have to be relaxed, fight for every shot and just be ourselves. The result will come if we do that.”
Since losing their opening two games, China are unbeaten. ⒸOIS Photos
Traditional wheelchair curling powerhouses Sweden and Canada also confirmed spots in the semi-finals after Thursday morning wins.
Canada finished the round robin stage with seven wins and three losses, while Sweden's 10-7 comeback win against USA on Thursday morning gave them seven wins from nine matches and sealed their place with one game to spare.
Sweden are going for their first medal since Vancouver 2010 when they secured bronze.
Slovakia had to wait slightly longer before locking in their place as the fourth semi-finalist, reaching the knock-out stages for the first time in their history. Radoslav Duris’s rink beat Switzerland 8-6 in the morning and then watched on as Latvia lost its afternoon game 8-4 against Great Britain.
Slovakian have enjoyed a great run of form, including wins over Canada and Sweden in Beijing. ⒸOIS Photos
Polina Rozkova’s Latvian rink needed to beat both Great Britain and then China later on Thursday to have any chance of advancing.
The semi-finals will feature an exciting match-up between China and Canada - a repeat of 2018 when the Chinese executed a shock victory on their way to gold - whilst Sweden will face Slovakia.