ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Cup of China - Day 1

The Cup of China opened Friday in Shanghai with the Short Dance, Ladies, Men's and Pairs Short Programs. The Cup of China is the third of six events in the 2012/2013 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating.

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) dance to lead
Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat of France danced to the lead followed by Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver/ Andrew Poje and Russians Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev.

Pechalat/Bourzat turned in a strong Waltz and Polka set to a French Waltz and Can Can. The European Champions earned a level four for the twizzles, the lift and the first Polka sequence to score 69.15 points. The first competition is always not as good as in practice, but I think we've improved a lot in presenting ourselves in competition. We were in good shape for this first short dance of the seaon. I hope that the audience enjoyed the theme we showed. Technically, there is still room for improvement, Bourzat commented.

Weaver/Poje picked up a level four for the same elements in their Waltz and Polka to The Sound of Music. The Canadians earned 65.59 points. There was not a lot of down-time between the two Grand Prixs, so we didn't have a lot of chances to change many things. We tried to focus on the points where we lost a lot. We focused on the Polka and on the footwork to try to bring those up fo the competition and we are happy with how the Short Dance went today, Poje said.

Bobrova/Soloviev's dance to music from Russian movies featured level-four twizzles and a level-four straight line lift. The European silver medalists collected 64.32 points. We felt like that we skated cleaner and with more emotions at Skate America, but the judges obviously saw it differently. Technically, we got less points (here). We decided to work especially on the Polka as we didn't get so high levels at Skate America, but we didn't have enough time to change or to add something, Soloviev explained.

Madison Chock/Evan Bates are currently ranked fourth at 59.26 points and Charlene Guignard/ Marco Fabbri (ITA) placed fifth with 55.57 points.

Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) captures Ladies Short Program
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia captured the lead in the Ladies Short Program ahead of Japan's Mao Asada and Mirai Nagasu (USA).

Skating to Sabre Dance, Lipnitskaia hit a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, a triple flip, double Axel and level-four spins. The World Junior Champion got 63.06 points. Today I liked everything in my program. I did everything I wanted to do and now I am a little unexpected in first place, the 14-year-old told the press. My goal is to be in the top three here so I have a chance to qualify for the Grand Prix Final, she added.

Performing to I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin, Asada completed a double Axel, triple loop and her spins and the footwork garnered a level four. However, the Olympic silver medalist underrotated the triple flip and she was edged out for first place by less than one point at 62.89 points. This is my first competition of the season and I was nervous. But it was good, I performed like in practice, the two-time World Champion noted.

Nagasu produced a double Axel, triple loop and strong spins, but underrotated the back end of her triple toe-triple toe combination to score 59.67 points. I'm happy thatI improved on Finlandia Trophy where I fell on my toe-toe, and this time I only put my foot down. That's a big improvement and my points were lot higher, the American pointed out.

Kiira Korpi (FIN) finished fifth while Zijun Li (CHN) came fifth. Amelie Lacose (CAN) rounds up the top six.

Daisuke Takahashi (JPN) grabs lead in Men's Short Program
Daisuke Takahashi of Japan grabbed a narrow lead in the Men's Short Program, edging out teammate Tatsuki Machida by 1.31 points. Russia's Sergei Voronov came third.

Takahashi two-footed and underrotated his quad toe but hit a triple Lutz-triple toe combination as well as a triple Axel and two level-four spins in his Rock'n'Roll program. The World silver medalist scored 84.79 points. It was not so good. I missed my quad, my spins and my steps were not correct, but the audience was very supportive, the 26-year-old noted.

Machida's routine to F.U.Y.A by C2C was highlighted by a triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe combination and fast, well centred spins. With 83.48 points, the Japanese set a new seasons best for himself. I was a little nervous, but I did my best. My condition was not so good after Skate America. I was a little tired physically and mentally. But I practiced in Japan before this competition and I took a rest which was very good for me, the 22-year-old explained.

Voronov completed a quad toe-triple toe combination, a triple Axel and a triple loop in his program to the Russian Sailor Dance to earn 73.58 points. This is my first competition after my injury and the World Championships and almost everything was perfect, this is a success for me, the Muscovite commented.

Adam Rippon (USA) placed fourth (71.81 points) ahead of Nan Song (CHN, 70.86 points). Kevin Reynolds (CAN) is ranked sixth at 69.87 points. Brian Joubert (FRA) stand in 7th place after missing two jumps (63.27 points).

Qing Pang/Jian Tong (CHN) take Pairs Short Program
China's Qing Pang/Jian Tong took the Pairs Short Program. Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov of Russia and Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch follow in second and third.

Pang/Tong produced side by side triple toes, a triple twist, throw triple loop and three level-four elements in their Paso Doble program. The two-time World Champions received 68.57 points. This is our second competition of the season and we did much better than at Skate America, so we are very satisfied, Tong said.

Skating to The Blue Danube, Kavaguti/Smirnov landed a side by side triple toe, a triple twist and throw triple loop to score 63.70 points. We are satisfied with our performance in our first competition. We skated with emotions and I think the audience danced with us. We really like this music and it is working much better for us than the music we first had, Kavaguti offered.

Moore-Towers/Moscovitch turned in a clean performance as well with a triple twist, triple toe and throw triple loop to Motley Crew. The Canadian couple was awarded 59.12 points. We are pretty pleased. It's our first Grand Prix and we more or less went clean. We lost a couple of levels which would have put us a little bit higher on the number, but what's done is done, Moore-Towers commented.

The new team of Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) came fourth with 57.89 points and Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) placed fifth at 56.66 points.

For full results please see www.isu.org. The Cup of China continues Saturday with the Free Dance, the Ladies, Men's and Pairs Free Skating.

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