Sunday, 19/11/2017 | : : UTC-8
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NHK Trophy: VOLOSOZHAR/TRANKOV, DAISKE TAKAHASHI, MAO ASADA, MERYL DAVIS/CHARLIE WHITE TAKE LEAD IN SHORT PROGRAMS

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating made its fourth stop at the NHK Trophy in Tokyo, Japan. Headliners included 2013 World medalists: Dance: (Gold) Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA), Pairs (Gold) Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS), Men: (Bronze) Javier Fernandez (ESP), Ladies: (Bronze) Mao Asada (JPN)

PAIRS: Volosozhar/Trankov (RUS) ahead after short program…

  1. Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov (RUS) – “Masquerade Waltz”
  2. Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) – La Strada
  3. Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) – “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”

Volosozhar/Trankov earned level-fours for the death spiral, pair spin and footwork. “Today we did a good short program, although the feeling maybe wasn’t so comfortable in the last three elements. We got a high score, and we’re happy with it”, commented Volosozhar. The World Champions scored 82.03.

Sui/ Han received level-fours for their triple twist, reverse lasso lift and step sequence. “It was a good short program for us and we did our best”, said Han. The 2010, 2011, 2012 World Junior Champions scored 70.13.

Peng/Zhang (CHN) scored a level-four for their backward Lasso Lift and the backward inside Death Spiral. Peng’s hand touched down on the throw triple loop. “We had an error today, but we are in third place and got our highest score, so we are happy with that” smiled Zhang. The 65.09 points was a personal best score.

Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) with 58.67 points just squeaked by Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir (USA) with a 58.60 score.

MEN: Daisuke Takashi (JPN) skates to lead in Men’s Short Program…

  1. Daisuke Takashi (JPN) – “Sonatino for Violin” by Mamoru Samuragochi
  2. Javier Fernandes (ESP) – Satan Takes a Holiday
  3. Nobunari Oda (JPN) – Cotton Club

Takahashi zipped off a 4Toe and 3Axel. The 3 Lutz+3Toe combination in the second half of the program received 11.61 points, just .12 less than the Quad Toe Loop. His footwork scored level- four and the spins were levels 2, 3, 4. “Today I am extremely happy with my performance and I haven’t been that happy in a while. I never expected my score to be that high. It wasn’t about the score, I wanted to regain my confidence”, said Takahashi. The 95.55 score was a new personal best for the 2010 World Champion.

Fernandez missed his 4Salchow, but received positive GOEs on his 3Axel and 3Lutz+3Toe combination. His three spins each garnered a level-four. “I had a little mistake in my quad, but I think it’s a great start for me”, commented the 2013 World bronze medalist. He scored 84.78 points.

Oda under-rotated his Quad Toe+ 3Toe at the entry to the combination. His 3Lutz received an edge call deduction. The spins were level-three and the footwork level-four. “I definitely wanted to avoid the same mistakes I made at Skate Canada. I need to correct the under-rotation and edge calls”, Oda noted. He earned 82.70 points.

Adam Rippon (USA) is a close fourth with 82.25 points. Jeremy Abbott (USA) and Max Aaron (USA) trail behind in seventh and eighth place respectively.

LADIES: Mao Asada (JPN) wins Ladies’ Short Program in home country.

  1. Mao Asada (JPN) A Nocturne by Chopin
  2. Akiko Suzuki (JPN) “Hymne a l’amour”
  3. Elena Radionova (RUS) – Anna Karenina (Two Steps from Hell)

Asada’s jumps included a shaky 3Axel, 3Flip and a 3Loop+2Loop under-rotated combination. Her spins and footwork were all level-fours. “I really focused to skate like in practice, and I think I improved from Skate America. After SA, I was able to work on my transitions and spins”, said the 2013 World bronze medalist. She scored 71.26

Suzuki also received level-fours for her spins and footwork. Her 3Flip received negative GOEs. “My Toe loop combination and Flip were not so clean, but I’m happy with my interpretation”, said the 2012 World Bronze Medalist. She scored 66.03 points.

Radionova’s (RUS) opening 3Lutz lost points when her hand touched the ice. Her 2Axel and 3Loop+3 Toe combination skated in the second half of the program scored higher because their base value was multiplied by 1.1. The level four spins and level three footwork added points. “Overall I’m pleased with my performance although not everything worked out today as planned”, explained the reigning World Junior Champion. Her routine scored 62.83 points

Gracie Gold (USA) tied Radionova with 62.83 points, but the Russian teenager had a higher technical score.

DANCE: Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) score lower than Skate America, but lead after Short Dance…

  1. Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) My Fair Lady
  2. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte (ITA) 42nd Street and “Lullaby of Broadway”
  3. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) Michael Buble medley

Reigning World Champions, Davis/White danced Foxtrot, Quickstep, Foxtrot. The second part of the Finnstep and their rotational lift scored level-fours. The other technical elements were graded level three, lower marks than Skate America. “Since Skate America we’ve really grown into the presentation of this program, which is really what we were aiming for”, Davis commented. The University of Michigan students scored 73.70.

Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte skated Quickstep, Foxtrot, Quickstep and scored level-fours for their twizzles, rotational lift, and first Finnstep pattern. Lanotte lost his balance at a key point in the second section of the Finnstep resulting in a level-two. “There were a couple of mistakes; we left a few points on the ice. In general, we’re proud of our short dance”, Cappallini said. The Italian champions cored 64.58.

Shibutani/Shibutani did the Quickstep, Foxtrot, Quickstep. Their twizzles and rotational lift received level-fours. The Finn step pattern gained a level three up from level two at Skate America. “Going into this week our goal was to show improvement from Skate America. The performance felt really good; our Finnstep levels got better”, Maia Shibutani told the media. The brother/sister team scored 63.09.

Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) 61.35 and Piper Gilles/Paul Poirer (CAN) 55.20 are in fourth and fifth place.

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