Olympic champions Hanyu and Zagitova win in Moscow
Japan's two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu overcame an injury to his right ankle to win the men's title, while Pyeongchang gold medallist Alina Zagitova won gold in the women's competition at the Rostelecom Cup on Saturday.
The 23-year-old double world champion Hanyu secured his second straight Grand Prix title this season, after winning in Helsinki, and stamped his ticket for the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver next month.
Teenager Zagitova added to Saturday's short programme success, winning the event with an overall score of 222.95 points.
Hanyu went into the free programme with a 20-point lead after setting a world record in Friday's short programme, but his preparations were cut short when he fell during an official practice session.
He left the rink with ice packed around his right ankle. Last year an injury to the same ankle caused him to miss the Grand Prix Final.
However, Hanyu returned to the rink for the competition, making a number of errors during his free routine to "Art on Ice" by Edvin Marton.
The Sochi and Pyeongchang Olympic champion did enough to collect 167.89 points, to give him 278.42 overall.
His fans strewed the ice of Megasport arena with dozens of Winnie the Pooh toys celebrating their favourite success.
"I twisted my foot this morning and it really hurts," Hanyu told Olympic Channel.
"(It) wasn't as bad as last year. This injury made me change my programme and sadly I couldn't perform the way I wanted. I could have done better."
Hanyu finished almost 30 points clear of Morisi Kvitelashvili whose almost flawless presentation of his "Mozart L'Opera Rock" free programme was good enough to secure the first ever ISU Grand Prix podium for a Georgian.
Another Japanese skater, Kazuki Tomono, fourth after the short programme, climbed to third overall with a 238.73-point total.
- Zagitova dazzles -
Meanwhile, home darling Zagitova, who also claimed gold at Helsinki, was in a class of her own.
The 16-year-old earned 142.17 points for a solid presentation to "Carmen Suite" to win the women's section, finishing clear of second-placed compatriot Sofia Samodurova by almost 25 points.
But Zagitova refused to rest on her laurels.
"I still have plenty of homework to do," she said. "Today I was focused on my jumps. Now I need to concentrate on the artistic impression to come to Carmen image as close as possible."
Lim Eunsoo of South Korea, who was sixth after short programme, finished third on 127.91 points.
This year's world championship runners-up Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia, the Skate America winners, who led the pairs competitions after the opening day, underlined their supremacy with a flawless skating of their free programme.
They've got a 141.78-point mark for their free routine to "Winter" by Balmorhea, winning the event with 220.25 points overall.
Italian duo Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise took second place with a 203.83-point overall mark, while another Russian pair Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin were third on 190.01 points.
Two-time European bronze medallists Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia, who topped their section after the rhythm dance, maintained their lead with an impeccable rendition of their "Am I The One" by Beth Hart free dance.
They set a new world record in free dances, earning a 124.94-point mark to collect 199.43 points overall and also book their place in the Vancouver finals.
"Today we came onto the ice in the right mood," Stepanova told Russian TV. "We were very upset with our mistakes yesterday and now we're really happy that we managed to change the situation completely."
Spanish pair Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin were second, almost 17 points behind the winners, while Americans Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko finished third just 0.21 points further back.……
Sports Lifestyle International
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