The Rostelecom Cup opened in Moscow, Russia Friday with the Short Programs and the Short Dance. The Rostelecom Cup is the sixth and last event in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and thus provides the last opportunity for skaters to qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Quebec (CAN) next month.

Mao Asada takes Ladies Short Program
Mao Asada of Japan edged out Russia's Alena Leonova for first place in the Ladies Short Program. Adelina Sotnikova of Russia came third.
Asada's routine to Sheherazade featured a high double Axel, a triple flip-double loop combination and a triple loop. The two-time World Champion earned a new seasons best of 64.29 points. This Short Program was a good start for me for the Free Skating tomorrow, Asada commented. I decided not to do a triple Axel in the morning practice today.
Leonova nailed a triple toe-triple toe combination, a triple flip, double Axel and had level-four spins in her program to Pirates of the Caribbean to score 63.91 points, a new seasons best as well. I am very happy with today's performance despite some little errors. I was thinking of positive things and I wanted to performance for my coach, the audience and my parents and I didn't think about skating last, the Russian explained.
Skating to Bolero, Sotnikova missed her opening triple Lutz like she had at the Cup of China, but recovered to produce a triple flip-double toe combination and double Axel. The reigning World Junior Champion scored a seasons best of 57.79 points. I didn't skate so well today. I missed again my triple-triple combination but hopefully I'll do better tomorrow, the 15-year-old said.

Sofia Biryukova (RUS) placed fourth at 56.30 points and Kiira Korpi (FIN) is sitting in fifth with 55.81 points.

Aljona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (GER) skate to lead in Pairs Short Program
Aljona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy of Germany skated to the lead in the Pairs Short Program followed by Russia's Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov and Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek of Italy.
Savchenko/Szolkowy opened their program to Angel and Demons with a high throw triple flip and followed up with a triple twist and triple toeloop. The three-time World Champions earned a level four for the pair spin and the death spiral and picked up 68.72 points, improving their seasons best significantly. We are very happy with our performance. In the last two competitions we made some mistakes, but of course today we took out the throw triple Axel and went back to the throw triple flip. This made our preparations a little bit easier, Szolkowy shared.
Performing to the Blues All Alone, Kavaguti/Smirnov produced a triple toeloop, throw triple loop and level-four lift. However, the triple twist was shaky. The 2010 European Champions scored a new seasons best with 65.17 points. We are very pleased to skate here. This is our third competition in the season. As long as Yuko and I have been skating together, we always competed at the Grand Prix in Moscow and it has become a little tradition that we didn't want to break with, Smirnov said.
Berton/Hotarek turned in a solid Short Program to Harlem Nocturne that featured a triple toeloop, throw triple loop and level-four spin, lift and death spiral. The Italian team posted a new seasons best as well with 60.13 points. We had a great skate today and we enjoyed the ice rink and the crowd. Today we skated better than at our previous Grand Prix, Hotarek commented.
2011 World Junior silver medallists Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) finished fourth with 51.73 points ahead of Ashley Cain/Joshua Reagan (USA) with 49.03 points.

Jeremy Abbott (USA) grabs Men Short Program
Jeremy Abbott (USA) grabbed a narrow lead over Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu in the Men's Short Program. Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic placed third.
Abbott sparkled in his routine to Bei mir bist du schön and Swing Kids, hitting a triple flip-triple toe, a triple Axel and triple Lutz as well as a level four spin and level three footwork. The two-time U.S. Champion scored 83.54 points, a seasons best. I had a lot of fun today. I think it really was the most fun I've had on the ice in a very, very long time, if not ever. I thought the Russian audience was very receptive to my program. From the start they were clapping along with the music and with each element that I hit they got more and more excited and so did I. That made it much easier to perform, Abbott explained.
Hanyu went for the quad toe right at the beginning of his program to Etude in D Sharp Minor Patetico by Alexander Skriabin, but stumbled badly. He rallied back to land a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toeloop and showed level-four spins and steps. The 2010 World Junior Champion earned a new seasons best with 82.78 points. I missed the quad toe today and I am a little disappointed about that. But I will refocus for the Free Skating, Hanyu said.
Brezina's performance to Kodo Drums included a triple Axel, triple flip-triple toeloop combination and a triple Lutz, but he wobbled on his change foot camel spin. The Czech skater collected 79.01 points. I feel good about what I did today. I did all my jumps, but I struggled with my spins and steps. I almost hit my seasons best today, so I am happy about that and I try to do even better tomorrow, the 2009 World Junior silver medallist noted.
Javier Fernandez (ESP) is sitting in fourth withing striking distance to the podium at 78.50 points and World bronze medallist Artur Gachinski (RUS) came fifth (74.73 points).

Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) claim Short Dance
Meryl Davis/Charlie White (USA) claimed the Short Dance. Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje finished second and Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev of Russia are ranked third.
Davis/White put out a lively dance set to Samba and Rhumba rhythms. They earned a level three for the Rhumba sequences and a level four for the curve lift and the twizzles, but she looked a little shaky and he slipped on a transition move. The reigning World Champions scored 69.94 points. I caught an edge on the beginning, turning around the corner, which is just a thing that happens sometimes. But I was really happy with the skating up to it and the skating after it. I felt we did a really nice short dance beside that and I was really proud of the way we handled it. I felt our character has improved since Skate America, White told the press.
Weaver/Poje's performance to Rhumba and Samba was highlighted by a straight line lift and fast twizzles. The 2010 Four Continents Champions got a level four for the first Rhumba sequence and posted a new seasons best with 64.45 points. Today wasn't our very best performance how we do in practice, however it was stronger than at NHK and stronger technically than at Skate Canada. We felt like we had to hold it together in some places and I think that's just a stepping stone building to make this program to become automatic with the performance and the energy level. We can take this and be proud of it, Weaver said.
Dancing to Samba, Rhumba and Samba, Bobrova/Soloviev picked up a level four for the lift, but the Rhumba and the circular footwork were a level two and the twizzles a level three.The Russian Champions earned 61.69 points. Compared to the Cup of China we skated with more emotions, but technically it wasn't as good, admitted Soloviev. I only did three turns on the second twizzle as my change of edge wasn't confident enough.
Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko (RUS) finished fourth at 55.83 points and Isabella Tobias/ Deividas Stagniunas (LTU) were fifth at 52.36 points.

The Rostelecom Cup continues Saturday with the Ladies, Pairs and Men's Free Skating and Free Dance. For full results please refer to