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Britain Glides Past Russia in First Round of Men's Curling

SOCHI — Britain inflicted a 7-4 defeat on Russia on Monday as the Sochi Olympic men's curling competition got under way with the first round robin session.

The result gives Britain an early lead in the 10-nation standings along with three other medal contenders.

Gold medal favorite Canada, seeking a third-straight Olympic crown, beat Germany 11-8, while Sweden, which beat Canada in last year's world championships in March, triumphed over Switzerland 7-5.

Britain, led by Scottish world bronze medalist David Murdoch, faces Sweden in round two tonight, the first true test of its medal credentials.

"We're hoping to take that momentum into the tough game tonight," Murdoch said. "They're also coming off a strong win, so we'll have some downtime and come back prepared."

China also started strongly with a 7-4 win over Denmark. Host nation Russia is not expected to challenge for medals.

The Olympic curling tournament, held at the Ice Cube arena on the Black Sea coast, features a round robin tournament where everyone plays everyone else and the top four teams in the final standings progress to the playoffs.

The gold medal game is Feb. 21.

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