Zagitova takes Grand Prix title on debut

Zagitova takes Grand Prix title on debut
By Sportsbeat

04/11/2017 at 17:05

Teenage sensation Alina Zagitova enjoyed the Grand Prix debut of dreams after launching from fourth place to first and take figure skating gold in the Audi Cup of China.

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The 15-year-old admitted she was far from content with her short programme, but well and truly came into her own in the free skate with a stunning score of 144.44 points, performing to 'Don Quixote'.

That saw the Russian total 213.88 points and soar to the top of the standings, edging Japan's Wakaba Higuchi into silver while fellow Russian Elena Radionova took the third step on the podium.

"To win the gold medal in my first Grand Prix means a lot to me, but I need to continue to work and I cannot rest on my laurels," said the 2017 World Junior Champion.

"I was not pleased with my short programme but I was pleased with the free (skate) as I did everything. I was a little tight, but I was able to show what I have been training."

Meanwhile ice dance duo Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron maintained their exquisite form in Beijing to become the first team to break the 200-points barrier.

The three-time European champions had shone to lead the way on day one, following that up majestically with a level four for their lifts, spin, twizzles and circular step sequence to register a score of 119.33 points, a personal best.

As if that wasn't enough, the French performance saw them soar to 200.43 points overall to maintain their flawless form on the China ice, with Madison Chock and Evan Bates taking silver while bronze went to Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev.

"It was a great performance for us and we are happy with how we performed and with our score," said Papadakis.

Cizeron added: "This is our third time in China and we always have skated well here. It feels like a lucky place for us. Here we won our first Grand Prix a few years ago."

The pairs competition saw the Chinese skaters once again dominate on home ice, with Sui Wenjing and Han Cong leading from the front for the second time in the competition.

Leading heading into the free skate, that advantage was not to be relinquished with a score of 76.12, giving them a total of 150.93.

That was comfortably ahead of the 134.17 from compatriots Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao, while Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro from Canada rounded off the podium.

Finally, America's high-flying men's stars could barely be separated as Max Aaron took gold by just 0.15 points ahead of Vincent Zhou.

A three-figure score did have Zhou ahead at halfway, but a stunning routine from Aaron saw him top the tree with a Saturday effort of 96.60 and total registering 176.58 points. Sportsbeat 2017