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Figure Skating - 28. November 2014.

NHK Trophy ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Day 1

Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) skate to lead in the Pairs Short

Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford of Canada skated to the lead in the Pairs Short Program. Russia's Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov finished second ahead of Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin of China.

Duhamel/Radford's performance to "Un peu plus haut" featured a side by side triple Lutz, a throw triple Lutz, triple twist and four level-four elements. The World bronze medalists scored 72.70 points. "The way we skated today is how we skate every day in practice. This is how we aim to skate at every competition. It feels amazing to skate like that and we're really looking forward to carrying the momentum into the long program", Radford said. "We had a very strong skate at Skate Canada in the short program. I think that this program here was a little bit better. We somehow managed to score I think the exact same score at Skate Canada, so we are very consistent", he added.

Skating to "Meditation" from "Thais", Kavaguti/Smirnov produced a triple twist, throw triple loop and level-four lift, death spiral and spin. However, Kavaguti's triple toe was a little shaky. The 2010 European Champions earned 64.60 points. „We are very pleased with our performance today. It was really nice to skate for a Japanese audience and judging from the warm reception, they also were happy to see us. Tomorrow we want to skate even better than that to make our fans and ourselves happy", Smirnov commented.

Yu/Jin completed a triple toe and triple twist, but Yu stepped out of the landing of the throw triple loop in their routine to "Yulunga Spirit Dance" by Dead Can Dance. The World Junior Champions picked up a seasons best of 60.15 points. "I tried to relax in today's performance in the short program. I made a little mistake in the throw jump and my memory from Cup of China came back to me and I got nevous and wasn't able to skate as I usually to. Tomorrow I hope I will be more relaxed", Yu told the press conference.

Vera Bazarova/Andrei Deputat (RUS) are within striking distance of the podium at 59.62 points. Mari Vartmann/Aaron van Cleave (GER) finished fifth (48.39 points).

Gracie Gold (USA) leads in Ladies Short Program

Gracie Gold (USA) edged out Russia's Alena Leonova by 0.05 points to take a narrow lead in the Ladies Short Program. Kanako Murakami of Japan currently is ranked third.

Performing to "Piano Concerto in A minor" by Edvard Grieg, Gold nailed a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, triple loop as well as the double Axel and collected a level four for all three spins. The U.S. Champion scored a seasons best of 68.16 points. "I skated a really nice short program today. It was a great improvement over Skate America and my other events this season. I'm actually happy with not just how I skated with solid jumps and spins, but also how I performed to the audience. I had a lot of mistakes at Skate America and I worked hard to fix them", the 19-year-old noted.

Leonova's "Charlie Chaplin" program was highlighted by a triple toe-triple toe combination, a triple flip, two level-four spins and level-four footwork. The 2012 World silver medalist posted a new personal best with 68.11 points."Today I really enjoyed my performance and I wanted to give my emotions to the audience and judges. I am happy with my jumps, I tried to do them on a plus and it worked. I received my personal best score today. I will try to perform my free skating to the maximum tomorrow", Leonova commented.

Murakami landed a triple flip, double Axel and level-four spins and footwork in her routine set to "Think of Me" from "The Phantom of the Opera", but she underrotated the triple toe-triple toe combo. The 20-year-old earned a seasons best of 64.38 points. "In today's short program I didn't have any big mistakes and I was very happy when I finished my performance. But I still feel I can do better than that. I will be working towards my next competition and continue to make improvements to my short program", the 2014 Four Continents Champion said.

Satoko Miyahara (JPN) placed fourth at 60.69 points followed by Zijun Li (CHN) with 56.44 points and Chirstina Gao (USA) with 54.86 points

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