Hiroshima, Japan

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GP NHK Trophy Natalia Zabiiako Alexander Enbert Russia

Russia's Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Russia’s Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert skated to the lead in the Pairs Short Program as NHK Trophy opened in Hiroshima (JPN) on Friday. Cheng Peng/Yang Jin of China came second, followed in third place by Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro.

Performing to “Alexander Nevski”, Zabiiako/Enbert completed a triple twist, a side-by-side triple toeloop, throw triple loop and a level-four lift and spin. The Grand Prix Helsinki Champions set a season’s best with 73.48 points. “It was a good performance and we enjoyed it,” Enbert said. “Almost everything worked out well, there were just a few small mistakes, but the impression overall was good and positive. There is still room for improvement. We want all elements to be a level four.”

Peng/Jin’s routine to “Ophelia” by The Lumineers featured a triple twist, triple toeloop and throw triple loop. The Skate Canada silver medalists picked up a level four for their lift and a level three for their death spiral and spin, to earn 70.66 points. “The performance was better than at Skate Canada, but we missed some levels in the death spiral, spin and step sequence. We will focus on the levels in the free program,” Jin said. 

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China's Cheng Peng/Yang Jin 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Moore-Towers/Marinaro produced a triple twist and two level-four elements. However, the 26-year-old Moore-Towers touched down on the triple toe and the throw triple loop was shaky. The Skate Canada bronze medalists scored 67.70 points. “We are a little bit disappointed with our performance today. We’ve been practising well all week, it was just a little bit off in a lot of places.” Moore-Towers said. “We know in a field like this one, with teams like this, we need to be perfect to stack up. Unfortunately, today it wasn’t our day, we’re ready to fight tomorrow.”

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USA's Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Chris Knierim 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Chris Knierim (USA) finished fourth on 64.75 points after Scimeca Kneirim fell on the triple Salchow. The 2018 Four Continents Champions Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea (USA) came fifth on 59.00 points.

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