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Rochette, Abbott Golden in Kitchener

Joannie Rochette of Canada and Jeremy Abbott of the United States won the singles title at Skate Canada in Kitchener, Ont. yesterday.

In the ladies discipline, Alissa Czisny (USA) earned the silver medal and Finland’s Laura Lepistö clinched the bronze while Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi claimed silver and France’s Alban Préaubert captured the bronze medal in the men's event.

THE LADIES

Skating last to “Samson and Delilah,” Rochette earned 112.90 points (50.02 element score/62.88 program component score) for her sophisticated routine, setting a season best mark. She accumulated a total of 182.90 points. "It was one of those programs where I had to fight from beginning to end, and I'm proud that I did," she said. "It's good to know I have that in me, but I want to go home and work this program so that every element and every transition is right on and I can hit all my levels next time."

Rochette, the reigning World silver medalist, had the 4,450 spectators at The Aud behind her for her program. She landed her opening triple Lutz-double toe-double loop combination, but then stepped out of the triple flip. She also was off-balance on the triple loop and doubled the second Lutz. Rochette rallied to hit a triple toe-triple Salchow sequence and a double Axel-double toe loop combination.

“There were a few wobbles, and when I saw that triple loop on the replay, I was kind of proud of myself for hanging on to it," she said. "It was one of those programs where you need to fight from the beginning to the end. I’m proud I did. I will go home and work to make sure that every element, every transition is right on and that I get all my levels.”

Czisny ranked fourth in the free skate with 100.01 points (46.57/55.44) but remained in second place with an overall mark of 163.53. “I was a little bit disappointed with my performance today. I’ve been skating better. There were strong points of the performance and some things that I need to work on when I get back home,” she said.

The reigning U.S. champion's elegant program to “Doctor Zhivago” was highlighted by a triple Lutz-double toe, a triple flip, a triple toe as well as excellent spins and spirals. She fell on a Lutz and loop jump that both were downgraded. A triple loop was also cheated and downgraded.

Lepistö produced a triple Lutz, a triple loop-double toe and difficult spins and footwork, She earned a level four for two spins. The 2009 European champion reduced her planned triple toe-triple toe combination to a double toe-double toe and doubled a Salchow. She scored 102.78 points (48.62/54.16) and moved up from fourth to second with 158.52 points. "I'm not totally satisfied with my performance today, but it was better than it was in Nagano two weeks ago," she said. "I'm glad that I did better here than there."

Mirai Nagasu (USA), who w ranked third in the short program, dropped to fourth overall. She landed four triples, but both Lutzes received a deduction for the wrong-edge take off and she also stepped out of the second Lutz. Akiko Suzuki (JPN) pulled up from eight to fifth (147.72 points).

Rochette qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final as well as Suzuki, who had won in China.

THE MEN

Abbott earned a season best of 153.99 points (74.59/79.40) and ranked second in the free skate, but edged Takahashi by a over one point to take the gold at 232.99. "It felt really great tonight. I just wanted to focus on my program and take it one thing at a time. I knew that I had the Grand Prix Final on the line but for me, it wasn't really the goal tonight," Abbott said. "It was just to stay focused and make it all the way through the program and I think I did that very well, so I was very pleased."

The reigning U.S. men's champion hit a solid quadruple toe loop right out of the gate of his program to “Symphony No. 3” by Camille Saint-Saens. Abbott went on to complete a triple Lutz-triple toe-double loop combination, a triple Lutz, loop and triple Salchow-double toe as well as difficult spins two of which were graded a level four. However, the reigning Grand Prix Final champion was off balance on the triple flip and stepped out of the triple Axel.

Abbott and Takahashi qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.

Takahashi delivered an entertaining program to “La Strada” to score 155.01 points (74.01/81.00), which was a season best. He won the free skate and overall compiled a mark of 231.31 points to earn the silver. "I'm happy for that result because I can go to the final. But the performance today was not good for me because I could not (do the) quad," Takahashi said. "I had some little mistakes and the speed was not there. But I improved more Im happy."

Takahashi tripled his opening toe loop that was planned as a quadruple. He hit two triple Axels (one in combination with a double toe), a triple Lutz-double toe, a triple Lutz-double toe-double loop and a triple flip. However, he had to fight for the landing of a triple loop and two-footed a triple Salchow.

Préaubert stood in fourth place following the short program and moved up with a Rolling Stones medley that featured eight triple jumps including two Axels and a triple flip-triple toe combination. Préaubert earned 139.98 points (70.18/69.80), improving his seasons best, and totaled 212.28 points. "I felt very good," the Frenchman said. "Today, it was my strategy not to try (the quad) and finally I am up here because I got a got results here. When I saw the field here, I couldn't think it would be possible to be up here because it was a very high level. I'm really proud of this result."

Michal Brezina (CZE) landed five triples to finish fourth with 202.32 points. 2009 European silver medalist Samuel Contesti placed just behind at 202.25 points. He missed a triple Axel but produced five clean triple jumps. Denis Ten (KAZ), who was ranked third in the short program, slipped to seventh overall due to several errors. Reigning World silver medalist Patrick Chan (CAN) fell three times and remained in sixth place.


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