Milano / Italy

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Olympic Champions Aljona Savchenko/Bruno Massot of Germany shone in what was a high level Pairs Short Program at the ISU World Figure Skating Championhips 2018 in Milan (ITA) on Wednesday. The Germans edged Russia’s two-time European Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov by 1,69 points to take the lead. The 2017 European bronze medalists Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres of France came third.

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Aljona Savchenko / Bruno Massot (GER)

Savchenko/Massot put out an entertaining program to ‘That Man’ by Caro Emerald that got the crowd going right away. The 2017 World silver medalists opened with a big triple twist and followed up with a triple Salchow, throw triple flip and a spectacular lift. They picked up a level four for five elements to set a personal best of 82.98 points.

“The goal was to do a clean short program, because that was missing this season,” Savchenko commented. “It is important for us to do our job. This is a new competition, it’s the World Championship. We are Olympic Champions, but the Olympics were yesterday. We put our Olympic gold medals aside and focus on this competition,” she added.

“We skated exactly like we wanted and we can be happy to share this with the fans who came here to see us and didn’t have the chance to come to Korea,” Massot noted.

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Evgenia Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov (RUS)

Skating to ‘Piano Concerto No. 2’ by Sergei Rachmaninov, Tarasova/Morozov produced a high triple twist, side by side triple toeloop and a huge throw triple loop. The Russian Champions as well earned a level four for the twist, death spiral, pair combination spin, lift and footwork and posted a personal best score of 81.29 points.

“We are happy with our skate, in the last competition of the season and after the Olympic Games it is very hard but we are happy we can do our short program like that after this whole season” Morozov said. “We are here to get revenge after the Olympics, definitely. But let’s see what happens tomorrow, we don’t think about it, we just do it.”

James/Cipres’ program to ‘Let It Rain’ included a triple twist, difficult lift and throw triple flip, but James stumbled on the triple Salchow. The French earned 75.32 points.

“I was very positively surprised (to be in third), it wasn’t a clean program but we gave it all, we really fought for the program and we skated it with our heart from the beginning until the end. This score is our seasons’ best with mistakes, so this shows we’re able to skate with the “big kids” I guess,” James told the press.

“Honestly speaking, we had a bad preparation. I injured my neck doing a lift in practice a week after the Olympics. I couldn’t skate for a week and a half, so Vanessa worked a lot by herself,” Cipres revealed.

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Vanessa James / Morgan Cipres (FRA)

Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert (RUS) came fourth with a solid performance to ‘Summer of 42’ and remain within striking distance to the podium on 74.38 points. To the delight of the home crowd, Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA) placed fifth (72.53 points). Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) round up the top six with 71.98 points.

28 Pairs competed in the Short Program and 16 qualified for the Free Skating.

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2018 continue Thursday with the Men’s Short Program and the Pairs Free Skating. For more information, full entry lists and results please see the ISU website and official event website. Follow the discussion on social media by using the hashtags #WorldFigure and #Milano2018