SOFTBANK TEAM JAPAN TO FACE ARTEMIS RACING IN PLAYOFFS

© Matt Knighton

SoftBank Team Japan will square off against Artemis Racing in the Semi-Finals of the America's Cup Challenger Playoffs beginning tomorrow, Sunday, in Bermuda.

After the final day of qualifying, top-seeded challenger Emirates Team New Zealand choose Land Rover BAR as their opponent leading to the Japanese squaring off against the Swedes by default.

"I was a bit surprised to be honest", said Skipper and CEO Dean Barker.

"We were expecting the Kiwis would pick us but we're very much looking forward to to matching up against Artemis. We've obviously done a lot of training alongside them here in Bermuda and know their setup well."

With the battle lines drawn, the America's Cup moves into a higher pitch as the four Challenger Playoff teams will duel it out for the next three to five days as they match race in the first to five series.

From there the two winners will then face-off in the America's Cup Challenger Playoff Finals to decide who the single challenger will be that advances to the America's Cup match to take on reigning Defender Oracle Team USA.

If SoftBank Team Japan makes it that far they will have their work cut out for them with the Defender having won the qualifying round today earning them a valuable bonus point for the America's Cup match.

"This is what we've been working towards for the past two years", said Barker.

"It will be close racing for sure. We've had three or four matches in the qualifiers where we lost out due to a single small error so we know we're on the cusp of getting it done. We'll be ready tomorow."

Challenger Playoff racing begins at 2pm Bermuda Time on the Great Sound tomorrow, Sunday June 4.