Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Asada wins GP Final despite triple axel problems

Aliona Savchenko, Robin Szolkowy

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany perform during pairs free skating of the ISU Grand Prix Final figure skating at Marine Messe Fukuoka in Fukuoka, western Japan, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

FUKUOKA, Japan (AP) — Japanese skater Mao Asada won the Grand Prix Final on Saturday despite failing to land two triple axels early in her free program.

Asada was first after the short program and overcame a fall on her opening triple axel and an under-rotation of the triple axel on her second combination jump to finish with 204.02 points.

Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia was second with 192.07 points followed by Ashley Wagner of the United States with 187.61.

“It was my first time to do two triple axels in the long program,” Asada said. “I felt I needed to challenge myself so that’s why I had two triple axels.”

Asada’s failure to complete the jump could jeopardize her chances of beating rival Kim Yu-na of South Korea at the Sochi Olympics. She also under-rotated a pair of double loops in Saturday’s routine.

“I haven’t clarified my program for Sochi yet but there are things I need to work on and make my efforts clear,” Asada said.

Lipnitskaia, who was fourth after the short program, improved her prospects for Sochi. Her only major deduction was for an under-rotated triple salchow.

“I did everything I needed today,” Lipnitskaia said. “It went better than Skate Canada but there are things I still need to work on. I will try to make myself better and better until Sochi.”

World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S. won the free dance to capture their fifth straight GP Final title in ice dance. White and Davis were first after the short dance and finished with 191.35 points to edge Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, who had 190 points.

“We are feeling very positive,” Davis said. “Kind of gearing up to work as hard as ever for Sochi. We have a good rivalry with Scott and Tessa.”

World silver medalists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany won the pair free skate to hand world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia their first defeat since the 2012 world championships.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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