This post-Olympic season has been full of surprises and we expect that trend to continue in Saitama. Yuzuru Hanyu is slated to compete at this event, after being out of action since November with an injured ankle. Nathan Chen will be gunning for a second global title, and if the top men skate up to their potential, this could be the most exciting event of the competition.
Japan also has a strong contender in the ladies division in the form of Rika Kihira, the 2018 Grand Prix Final and 2019 Four Continents champion. She will be joined by Kaori Sakamoto and Satoko Miyahara. Russia assigned Evgenia Medvedeva, newly-crowned European champion Sofia Samodurova, and Alina Zagitova to this competition.
The pairs event was expected to be another battle between the French, Chinese and Russian teams. However, China′s Wenjing Sui suffered a hard fall in a practice session in February and only returned to training the first week of March. But Sui is a fighter so never count her out.
In ice dance, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the French duo will be the favourites to mine gold, with teams from the U.S., Canada, Italy and Russia also in the hunt for a podium finish.
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