Courtesy of www.isu.org

Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) win Pairs Short Program
Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov won the Pairs Short Program followed by Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford of Canada and Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang of China.

Peforming to „The Blue Danube“, Kavaguti/Smirnov completed a level-four triple twist, a side by side triple toeloop and throw triple loop. The 2010 European Champions picked up a level four for the spin, lift and step sequence to post a new seasons best with 66.78 points. „We are happy with our performance and compared to the Cup of China the score is much better and I hope the next time it will be even better“, Kavaguti said.

Duhamel/Radford’s routine to „La Boheme“ included a triple twist, throw triple Lutz and four level-four elements, but Duhamel fell on the solo triple Lutz. The Canadian Champions scored 62.28 points. „Today Eric and I are very disappointed with how we skated. We always want to skate our best and we are never happy with falls“, Duhamel commented.

Peng/Zhang produced a triple twist, side by side triple toe and throw triple Salchow in their program to „Live and Let Die“. They earned 59.92 points, a new seasons best. „A year ago I was still skating with my old partner (Dan Zhang), but I had to change partners as she retired from skating. We are still a new team and I didn’t expect today’s result“, Zhang explained.

Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) finished fourth at 57.30 points followed by Ksenia Stolbova/ Fedor Klimov (RUS) at 53.64 points.

Jeremy Abbott (USA) grabs Men’s Short Program
Jeremy Abbott (USA) grabbed the Men’s Short Program. Takahito Mura of Japan came second and France’s Brian Joubert currently sits in third place.

Abbott hit a triple flip-triple toe combination, a triple Lutz, triple Axel and a level-four flying sit spin in his program to „Spy“. The U.S. Champion achieved a new seasons best score with 81.18 points. „After Skate America, I am very happy to be in this position. It’s been a bit of a struggle since then with my back, but we’ve been taking care of it and trying to make sure that everything is ready for this competition. We had to scale it back a little bit and not try the quad, but just put out a clean, solid skate“, Abbott shared.

Mura’s program to „Malaguena“ was highlighted by a triple Axel and triple Lutz, but he put down his hand on the quad toe-triple toe combination and underrotated the second jump. The Japanese earned 76.65 points. „I am surprised to sit in second place after the short program. I think I did what I could, I landed the quad and the triple Axel. So I think I learned a lesson from Skate Canada“, Mura commented.

Skating to „Genesis“ by Justice and „Aerodynamic“ by Daft Punk, Joubert landed a quad-double toe combination, a triple Lutz but the triple Axel was wobbly. The three-time European Champion collected 75.46 points. „I am very proud of my short program, because I am not ready for this competition. The last two weeks have been difficult for me because I was sick, but I fought on the ice and I gave a 100 percent. I did not a perfect program, but it gives my confidence for the future“, the Frenchman said.

Jorik Hendrickxx (BEL) placed fourth at 68.90 points while Jinlin Guan (CHN) and Nan Song (CHN) came fifth and sixth with 65.77 and 65.75 points respectively.

Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) captures Ladies Short Program
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia edged out Ashley Wagner (USA) for a narrow lead in the Ladies Short Program. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia finished third.

Lipnitskaia reeled off a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip and double Axel as well as difficult spins in her routine set to „Sabre Dance“. The 14-year-old set a new seasons best for herself with 63.55 points. „I skated very well for myself and I did everything I could. My (ankle) injury didn’t bother me during my performance“, the World Junior Champion said.

Wagner’s program to „Red Violin“ featured a triple flip-double toe combination, a double Axel, triple loop and a level-four layback spin. The 2012 Four Continents Champion scored 63.09 points, a new seasons best. „Going into this event I definitely felt pressure. I was very nervous before I went out to skate, but I felt that I really improved from Skate America with my short program. The score that I received with a triple-double and triple loop, I’m really pleased with that. Hopefully as the season goes on I’ll add a triple-triple.“

Skating to a Tango, Tuktamysheva produced a triple Lutz, double Axel but stepped out of the back end of her triple toe-triple toe combination to earn 58.26 points. „One month ago I was in a bad shape and I came to Skate Canada just to skate my program clean, but now in France I am fighting for a spot on the podium. I feel like I skated very well today“, the 15-year-old told the press.

Mae-Berenice Meite (FRA) placed fourth with 54.83 points ahead of Polina Korobeynikova (RUS) with 54.50 points and Elena Glebova (EST) at 52.61 points.

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) dance to lead
France’s Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat danced to the lead in the Short Dance, followed by Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte of Italy and Russians Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko.

Pechalat/Bourzat put out a Polka to French Can Can and a romantic Waltz „Sous le ciel de Paris“ that was highlighted by fast twizzles, a straight line lift and side by side circular steps. The two-time European Champions picked up a level three and four for the Yankee Polka pattern and a level four for the lift. The French scored 68.48 points. „It was a pleasure for us to skate, because the audience was cheering and clapping for us from the beginning and during all the Can Can. I felt it what we did was pretty strong, twizzles, step sequence and also we managed to get a key point in the Polka that we didn’t have in China, but we also missed another one we got in China“, Bourzat said.

Cappellini/Lanotte turned in a Polka and Waltz to music from „Seven Brides for Seven Brothers“. The twizzles, the first Polka sequence and the lift garnered a level four and the Italian Champions improved their seasons best with 66.18 points. „We tried to push our limits in practice. In the weeks between the competitions we tried to push more and to be stronger and build our confidence. I think tonight we really showed it. The levels were good and we are very happy about it“, Lanotte commented.

Riazanova/Tkachenko’s dance to „My Fair Lady“ featured level-four twizzles but the two Polka parts and the side by side footwork merited only a level two. The couple from Odintsovo scored 58.23 points, a new seasons best. „Compared to Skate Canada it (today’s performance) was a little bit stronger and not so nervous, because Skate Canada was our first competition. At this competition we were stronger and calmer. We’ve worked a lot on the Polka between the competitions but we still have a lot of work to do“, Tkachenko noted.

Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) are currently ranked fourth at 56.54 points. Julia Zlobina/Alexei Sitnikov (AZE) finished fifth at 54.76 points ahead of Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (CAN) with 51.99 points.