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Figure Skating - 10. November 2013.

Meryl/White and Asada win in Tokyo.

NHK Trophy continued in Tokyo, Japan, Saturday with the Short Dance, Pairs and Ladies Free Skating. NHK Trophy is the fourth of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2013/2014 series.

Meryl Davis/Charlie White win Short Dance

Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) won the Short Dance. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte of Italy and Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) follow in second and third.

Davis/White turned in a confident dance to Foxtrot, Quickstep and Foxtrot from “My Fair Lady”, completing fast steps and a rotational lift. They picked up a level four for the second part of the Finnstsep and their rotational lift while the side by side step sequence, the twizzles and the first Finnstep sequence garnered a level three. The two-time and reigning World Champions scored 73.70 points. “Charlie and I feel really excited about the direction our short dance is taking. We have a lot of things we want to improve before the Grand Prix Final. But I think since Skate America we’ve really grown into the presentation of this program ,which is really what we were aiming for”, Davis said.

Cappellini/Lanotte’s dance to “42nd Street” and “Broadway Lullaby” featured excellent twizzles (level four) and a level-four first Finnstep sequence as well as a rotational lift. The European bronze medalists earned 64.58 points. “It was kind of tough start in the warm up when I fell unexpectedly in the Finnstep. I guess that made us a little more nervous. There were a couple of mistakes and we left a few points on the ice, but in general we are proud of our short dance. We were able to bring a lot of fun and dance out there. It was not a perfect skate, but something we can build on”, Cappellini shared.

Performing to songs by Michael Buble, Shibutani/Shibutani completed level-four twizzles and a level-three Finnstep to earn a seasons best with 63.09 points. “Going into this week our goal was to show improvement from Skate America. The performance felt really good and our Finnstep levels got better”, Maia Shibutani told the post-event press conference.

Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) sit in fourth with 61.35 points. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirer (CAN) came fifth at 55.20 points.

Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) claim NHK Trophy

Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov of Russia claimed NHK Trophy. China’s Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang moved up one spot to take the silver medal while their teammates Wenjing Sui/Cong Han settled for the bronze.

Volosozhar/Trankov put out a strong performance to “Jesus Christ Superstar”, landing side by side triple jumps, a triple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow. Five elements merited a level four. The reigning World Champions scored 154.46 points and racked up 236.49 points overall. “We feel very comfortable and happy about our free skating. We skated very well today and got good points. We are very happy as this is the first time at NHK Trophy for us and we did our job very well”, Volosozhar told the press. “I really wanted to skate well for the third time (this season) in order to feel confident. Therefore this was an important step. It was important for us to get good scores and to skate well”, added Trankov.

Peng/Zhang produced a quadruple twist, a big throw triple Salchow and difficult lifts in their program to “Yellow River Concerto”, but struggled with their solo jumps. The couple collected 117.09 points and pulled up to second at 182.18 points. “We are happy with today’s result, but not a 100 percent happy with the performance itself”, Zhang said.

Sui/Han’s program to “Kalinka” included a quadruple twist, a throw triple Salchow and two level-four lifts, but they made several errors including her falling from a lift. The three-time World Junior Champions received 101.19 points and slipped to third at 171.32 points. “It was not a good competition for us. Yesterday I started having a headache and a fever. I ended up getting up at 2 am and couldn’t go back to bed until 5 am. I had to be on the 6 am bus. I’m feeling very bad”, Han explained.

Marissa Castellli/Simon Shnapir (USA) moved up from fifth to fourth plae at 168.89 points. They went for the throw quadruple Salchow, but she stepped out of the landing. World Junior Champions Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) dropped one spot to fifth (167.85 points).

Volosozhar/Trankov are now qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final with the maximum of 30 points. Peng/Zhang and Sui/Han with 24 points each will have to wait and see if they make it to the Final.

Mao Asada (JPN) skates to victory

Mao Asada of Japan skated to victory in the Ladies event. Russia’s Elena Radionova earned the silver medal and the bronze went to Akiko Suzuki of Japan.

Asada’s program to Piano Concerto No. 2 by Sergei Rachmaninov was highlighted by five triple jumps and a level-four step sequence, but she two-footed and underrotated her triple Axel. Asada earned a seasons best with 136.33 points and totaled 207.59 points to take the title. “Ever since the Japan Open I’ve been doing well, but I am not satisfied yet. Since Skate America I am climing up step by step and I want to be at a higher level at my next event”, the two-time World Champion commented.

Performing to “Frida”, Radionova hit seven triples including a triple Lutz-triple toe and a triple loop-single loop-triple Salchow combination. She also showed excellent spins and scored 128.98 points, a new personal best. Overall she racked up 191.81 points. “I am very, very happy with today’s performance, because I skated clean and I really wanted to do that. I would like to go to the Grand Prix Final, this is a goal I set for myself this season”, the 14-year-old from Moscow noted.

Suzuki’s program to “The Phantom of the Opera” included four triples, but she fell on an underrotated Lutz and singled another Lutz. The 2012 World bronze medalist collected 113.29 points for her Free Skating and overall slipped to second place at 179.32 points. “There were a lot of mistakes. I was quite anxious before I skated and I wasn’t able to recover. I have lots of regrets now”, the 28-year-old told the press.

Gracie Gold (USA) remained in fourth place at 177.81 points. Satoko Miyahara (JPN) moved up one spot to fifth (170.21 points) while Valentina Marchei (ITA) came sixth (168.95 points).

Asada qualified for the Grand Prix Final with two victories and 30 points. Radionova and Suzuki got24 points each and have to see what happens in Paris and Moscow.
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