Medvedeva, Fer­nan­dez lead at ISU Grand Prix

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

World cham­pi­ons Ev­ge­nia Medvedeva and Javier Fer­nan­dez moved closer to a spot in next month’s ISU Grand Prix of fig­ure skat­ing fi­nal as they led the women’s and men’s com­pe­ti­tions at the ISU Grand Prix de France on Fri­day.

Medvedeva landed all of her jumps cleanly as she bet­tered her pre­vi­ous short pro­gramme best of 76.24 set on her way to vic­tory at Skate Canada last month.

The 16-year-old Rus­sian achieved 78.52 points-the sec­ond best score ever — for her per­for­mance to “River Flows in You” and “Win­ter” to lead Canada’s Gabrielle Dale­man (72.70) and Rus­sia’s Maria Sot­skova (68.71). “I am pleased with to­day’s per­for­mance, but this is still not the limit,” warned Medvedeva, the reign­ing Grand Prix fi­nal cham­pion. Ja­pan’s three-time world cham­pion Mao Asada slumped to eighth in the 12-woman field with Amer­i­can Gra­cie Gold also slip­ping to tenth af­ter strug­gling in their rou­tines.

Asada, 26, a for­mer two-time Paris win­ner, fin­ished sixth in the sea­son-open­ing Skate Amer­ica with her hopes of reach­ing the elite Grand Prix fi­nal in Mar­seille from De­cem­ber 8-11 slim.

Two-time men’s world cham­pion Fer­nan­dez, fresh from his third Cup of Rus­sia gold, sur­vived a fall on his open­ing quadru­ple to score 96.57, the Spa­niard com­fort­ably lead­ing Amer­i­can Nathan Chen (92.85) and Kazak De­nis Ten (89.21). Ger­many’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Mas­sot lead the pairs with French ice dancers Gabriella Pa­padakis and Guil­laume Cize­ron top­ping the short dance in the fourth of the six-round Grand Prix se­ries. Medals will be de­cided with all four free skates on Satur­day. De­spite Savchenko’s zip­per of her dress pop­ping the in-synch Ger­mans skated on im­press­ing with per­fect throws, lifts, spi­rals and step se­quences. They scored 77.55, plac­ing ahead of two Rus­sian pairs-Ev­ge­nia Tarasova and Vladimir Moro­zov (76.24) and Natalia Zabi­jako and Alexan­der En­bert (71.36). “I was sur­prised when the zip­per broke but it didn’t ef­fect us too much,” said Savchenko.

Two-time world ice danc­ing cham­pi­ons Pa­padakis and Cize­ron got their sea­son into full swing ear­lier Fri­day. The French duo im­proved their pre­vi­ous short pro­gramme best by two points, scor­ing 78.26 to lead Rus­sia’s Elena Ilinykh and Rus­lan Zhi­gan­shin by over ten points. Their score was sec­ond only to the 78.89 achieved by Amer­i­cans Meryl Davis and Char­lie White’s 78.89 on the way to gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Com­pet­ing in their first Grand Prix of the sea­son, the 21-year-old dancers per­formed their new pro­gramme to Blues and Swing rhythms in front of their home crowd in the Paris-Bercy Arena. “We’re de­lighted to start the sea­son with a score like this,” said Cize­ron. “There are still things to im­prove as the sea­son pro­gresses which will be in­ter­est­ing too” The pair will bid for third straight Euro­pean and world ti­tle next year be­fore their bid for gold at the Win­ter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018. —AFP

PARIS: Rus­sia’s Ev­ge­nia Medvedeva per­forms dur­ing the Ladies short pro­gram at the Trophee Eric Bom­pard ISU Grand Prix of Fig­ure Skat­ing in Paris on Fri­day. — AFP

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