November 18, 2017 / 3:17 PM / a month ago

Zagitova, Fernandez win France grand prix

GRENOBLE, France (Reuters) - Russia’s Alina Zagitova rebounded from an error-laden short programme on Saturday to earn her second grand prix title this month and qualify for next month’s final, while Javier Fernandez of Spain fell twice but still won the men’s title.

Figure Ice Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Internationaux de France - Pole Sud Ice Rink, Grenoble, France - November 18, 2017 Alina Zagitova of Russia performs during the Ladies Free Skating REUTERS/Robert Pratta

Performing to “Don Quixote” at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble, world junior champion Zagitova cleanly executed all the elements of her jump-packed free programme, earning first place with a total of 213.80 points.

Wearing a red tutu, the 15-year-old demonstrated her ability to bounce back after a rough short programme on Friday in which she fell on her triple lutz triple toe combination, as well as on her triple flip.

“I am not very pleased with my short programme because not everything worked out, but I am pleased with the free skating because I did everything to the maximum,” Zagitova told the International Skating Union (ISU) website.

“The short programme was on a different day, today was new day, I started from scratch and tried to go out with a cool head.”

With wins at the France and China grand prix events, Zagitova has secured a spot in her first senior-level Grand Prix Final in Japan.

Compatriot Maria Sotskova, who had finished second behind Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond in the short programme on Friday, finished second overall with 208.78 points, expertly executing a triple lutz triple toeloop combination at the start of her skate.

Osmond, the world silver medallist who won the Skate Canada event last month, failed to capitalise on her lead in the short programme, finishing third with 206.77 points.

Despite performing a series of quality jumps in her free programme, Osmond took a step after her double axel-triple toeloop combination before falling on her triple loop.

But her third place in France and her Skate Canada title are enough to see her through to the Grand Prix Final, taking place two months before the start of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Figure Ice Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Internationaux de France - Pole Sud Ice Rink, Grenoble, France - November 18, 2017 Alina Zagitova of Russia performs during the Ladies Free Skating REUTERS/Robert Pratta

FERNANDEZ RETURNS

After having taken the lead Friday with a stellar season-best performance in the short programme, Fernandez fell on his quad salchow and triple axel in his free skate but still managed to win the title with 283.71 points.

Fernandez was not at his best at the China grand prix event earlier this month, struggling on three jumps in his free programme to take sixth place.

Slideshow (2 Images)

But in France on Saturday, the two-time world champion finished more than 10 points ahead of Japan’s Shoma Uno, who also fell twice in his free programme.

Misha Ge of Uzbekistan took third place with 258.34 points.

Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov hung on to win the pairs event with 218.20 points despite making uncharacteristic mistakes, including sloppily combining their triple and double toeloops.

But the pair, the bronze medallists at this year’s world championships, compensated for some of their errors with spectacular height on throws and lifts.

France’s Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres finished nearly four points behind the Russian pair, while Italians Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise finished third with 197.59 points.

In ice dance, France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron pleased the home crowd with a stunning free dance that saw them tally 201.98 points overall, a world record.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States finished more than 20 points behind the French pair. Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin took third place with 177.24 points.

Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber from Moscow, editing by Ed Osmond and Christian Radnedge

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