Nagoya / Japan

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Unfazed by equipment and costume failures, World silver medalists Aljona Savchenko/Bruno Massot of Germany took the Pairs Short Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya on Thursday. Russia’s European Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov less than a point behind in second while reigning World Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China settled for third place.

Savchenko/Massot opened their entertaining Lindy Hop program to ‘That Man’ with a big triple twist and a side by side triple Salchow and a throw triple Lutz. “When I landed the jump I felt that the skating boot was soft and when I did the throw I was sure that it was broken. I told her and she just said, ‘go, go’,” Massot revealed. The European silver medalists went on to produce four level-four elements – lift, footwork, death spiral and pair combination spin to earn a season’s best of 79.43 points. “I liked best today that we did all elements clean, in spite of Bruno’s lace being broken and my dress being broken. The zipper of my dress broke. We fought until the end,“ Savchenko noted.

Tarasova/Morozov’s performance to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featured a huge triple twist, a side by side triple toeloop as well as a throw triple loop. The World bronze medalists picked up a level four for the twist, death spiral, pair combination spin, lift and footwork and scored 78.83 points.

“We like how we did our short program today, we have good emotions about it. In general, we did everything well. Maybe to the end of the program we got tired a little and that what influenced on our scores that we are not the first now. The first half of the program was really good. But now everything depends on the free program,” Morozov explained.

Sui/Han had to overcome a shaky start into their “Hallelujah” program when he crashed on the side by side triple toe, but recovered to produce an excellent throw triple flip, triple twist and three more level-four elements. The current World Champions picked up 75.82 points. “Because of my failure (fall on triple toe), I am really not happy with today’s performance. I am trying to look back what I could have been better, but I couldn’t believe this. Last time we had that many mistakes was at the Grand Prix in America two years ago where I failed like three times,” Han told the press.

2014 Olympic silver medalists  Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) finished fourth on 73.15 points. She fell on a crossover, but recovered to land the throw and the triple toe. The two-time World Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) are currently sitting in fifth on 72.18 point while

Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang (CHN) are in sixth on 70.15 points.