Savchenko and Massot net short program win despite technical issues
Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot overcame clothing malfunctions and skate problems to record a stunning victory in the pairs short program in the ISU Grand Prix in Nagoya, Japan.
Massot revealed his bootlace was broken after landing the first part of the couple's routine, a triple twist followed by a side by side triple Salchow and throw triple Lutz.
The German European silver medallists produced four level-four elements, footwork, lift, death spiral and pair combination spin en route to a sensational season's best effort of 79.43.
"When I landed the jump I felt that the skating boot was soft and when I did the throw I was sure that it was broken," Massot said. "I told Aliona and she just said, ‘go, go'.
Savchenko added: "I liked best today that we did all elements clean, in spite of Bruno's lace being broken and my dress being broken. The zipper of my dress broke. We fought until the end."
European champions Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia finished second, while China's world champion duo Sui Wenjing and Han Cong secured third.
Elsewhere, American Nathan Chen seized the initiative in the men's competition after winning the short program.
Four Continents champion Chen's highlights included a quadruple Lutz-triple toe combination as he took top spot going into tomorrow's free dance.
Chen scored 101.32 for his routine, ahead of home hero Shoma Uno and Russian Mikhail Kolyada.
"It's great to feel that you are in the lead," said Chen. "Both of my quads were a little bit shaky because I was nervous and little stressed.
"I will focus on tomorrow and for the future trust myself use energy to put on the show as best as I can."
In the ice dancing, two-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France lead the way going into Saturday's free dance after an impressive short program.
Their score of 82.07 is a new personal best, and puts them 0.54 ahead of reigning Canadian world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Maia and Alex Shibutani of the United States sit third.