Dec 092017

NAGOYA, Japan: Russian teenager Alina Zagitova took gold in the women’s skate at her debut Grand Prix Final on Saturday, while French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron ended the winning streak of Canadian team Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The tournament, seen as a key step on the road to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in two months, lacked the presence of two-time world champion and fellow Russian Evgenia Medvedeva, widely seen as a favourite for Olympic gold, after she qualified but then withdrew with a fractured bone in her foot.

The 15-year-old Zagitova, who last year won the Junior Grand Prix Final, overcame several wobbles on landings to win with a jump-laden routine to “Don Quixote”.Snapping off a clean triple lutz-triple loop combination, as well as a sharp triple Salchow and triple flip in the second half of her routine, Zagitova hit a season’s best with a total of 223.30. “There were a number of small mistakes but they weren’t that big a deal. I’m very happy to have won at the Grand Prix,” she said just after winning her title.

Fellow Russian Maria Sotskova came second with 216.28 while Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond came third.In ice dancing, the French team edged ahead of Virtue and Moir with an elegant, passionate routine to “Moonlight Sonata”, winning with 202.16 to 199.86 for the Canadians.“We’re relieved that it’s done,” Cizeron told a news conference.Virtue and Moir have racked up win after win since their return to competition with Skate Canada 2016.

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