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Figure skating: Zagitova leads, Japan’s Shiraiwa 5th at Rostelecom Cup

Russian Olympic champion Alina Zagitova built a healthy lead in Friday’s women’s short program at the Rostelecom Cup, while Yuna Shiraiwa had the best showing by a Japanese skater by placing fifth.

Zagitova, who won gold at February’s Pyeongchang Olympics, nailed her signature triple lutz-triple loop combination for 80.78 points at the fifth ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event of the season.

Fellow Russian Sofia Samodurova was second with 67.40, while Switzerland’s Alexia Paganini skated to third.

The 16-year-old Shiraiwa earned 60.35 points after under-rotating both jumps in her opening triple lutz-triple toe loop combination.

«I had trouble controlling myself both physically and mentally,» said Shiraiwa. «I tried not to get too overwhelmed by the atmosphere, but I knew I wasn’t skating at my best.»

(Yuna Shiraiwa)

Japan’s Yura Matsuda was eighth, followed by compatriot Mako Yamashita, who finished second in her senior Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada International in October, in ninth.

Earlier in the day, Japan’s double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu scored 110.53 to secure a 20.59-point short program lead over Morisi Kvitelashvili of Georgia.

(Yuzuru Hanyu)[Anadolu Agency/Getty/Kyodo]

Hanyu is aiming for his second-straight Grand Prix title this season after winning the meet in Helsinki, Finland, earlier this month.

«I was aiming for 106 points, and I would’ve been satisfied if I earned about the same as I did in Finland. So I think I did my best,» he said.

[Anadolu Agency/Getty/Kyodo]

All — Kyodo News+

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