Nagoya / Japan

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 Appollinariia Panfilova/Dmitry Rylov of Russia edged out World Junior Champions Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya/Harley Windsor of Australia for a narrow lead in the Junior Pairs Short Program. Russia’s Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin are currently ranked third.

Panfilova/Rylov’s program to “Black Velvet” featured a triple twist, the required side by side double Lutz, a solid throw triple loop and a level-four death spiral, lift and pair combination spin. The team from Perm picked up a season’s best of 60.81 points. “It was the best short program of the season so far,” Panfilova said. “I was not nervous at all, very calm and it felt easy to skate here in Japan. We have been working on the quad twist, but it is not consistent yet, so we won’t show it in the free program yet,” she continued.

Alexandrovskaya/Windsor turned in a solid performance to “Paint It Black”, producing a triple twist and three level-four elements, but she touched down on the throw triple loop. The World Junior Champions earned 60.26 points. “We are pretty happy with it. Obviously, we made a mistake on the throw but everything else was pretty good,” Windsor commented. He is pleased with their progress this season so far: “We are just going to take it step by step by the moment trying not to think of the Olympics too much. Our preparation has been pretty good and we have been skating pretty good, too.”

Skating to “Cloud Atlas”, Pavliuchenko/Khodykin landed a triple twist and side by side double Lutz, but she went down on the throw triple loop. The team from Moscow had a level four for five elements and scored 59.51 points. “I was a little nervous. There were many spectators, but on the other hand I like it when there are spectators. I rushed it (the throw triple loop) and you never should do that. There is room for improvement,” Pavliuchenko told the press.

World Junior bronze medalists Yumeng Gao/Zhong Xie (CHN) are not far behind in fourth place on 59.47 points followed by Anastasia Poluianova/Dmitry Sopot (RUS), who have 57.28 points. World Junior silver medalists Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii (RUS) finished sixth on 55.92 points. 

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