Beijing / China

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Reigning World Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han, and Xiaoyu Yu/Hao Zhang, led China’s pairs to a one-two finish in the Short Program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Audi Cup of China, with Italy’s Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise in third.

Sui/Han, who are also Four Continents Champions, sparkled in their romantic ‘Hallelujah’ program, completing superb elements such as a throw triple flip, a level-four triple twist and side–by-side triple toeloop. Their side-by-side spin, the lift and the step sequence were rated a level four and the pair scored 80.14 points. “It is our first Grand Prix of the season so I was a bit nervous but we kept everything under control. We performed our regular level like in training and we really felt the support of the audience,” Han said.

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Yu/Zhang delivered a solid performance to ‘Swan Lake’, the highlights of which were a huge triple twist and a throw triple loop. They picked up a level four for all five elements that are given levels. Yu had a shaky landing on only the side–by-side triple toe. The ISU Grand Prix Finalists earned 71.37 points. “We are satisfied with today’s program,” Yu said. “We are especially pleased with our component score. I think we did a good job there. The big throws went very well today, but I could have done the solo jump better.”

Skating to ‘Magnificat’, Della Monica/Guarise completed a triple twist, throw triple loop and three level four elements, but Guarise stepped out of the side-by-side triple Salchow. The Italian Champions picked up 63.76 points. “The program was a bit difficult today. We had to fight through some of the elements and we struggled with the (solo) jump, but overall I think it was a good program and we had good energy throughout,” the 29-year-old said.

Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro (CAN) – on 62.52 points – remain within striking distance of the podium, while Valentina Marchei/Ondrej Hotarek (ITA) finished fifth (59.53 points).

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series consists of six events and culminates in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) in December. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the Final. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$272,000.

Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here.  Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating