Team USA extended its lead over Japan and Russia on Day 2 of the 2019 World Team Trophy. The American contingent now has 91 points heading into the final day of competition, over Japan (79 points) and Russia (70 points).
Nathan Chen captured the top spot in the men’s free skate slightly ahead of teammate Vincent Zhou. As in the short program, their efforts earned 23 points for Team USA. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue earned 10 points for a third-place finish in the free dance and Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc scored 8 for placing fifth in the pairs short program.
“Team USA put out a lot of wonderful performances, some season’s bests and we’re all very happy and proud,” team captain Hubbell said. “Freestyle and pairs are incredibly challenging to predict. While we are confident that the ladies and pair on our team are going out trying to do their best, we know that anything can happen. We’ll be there supporting them and hopefully we’ll stay in the first place. But there are difficult opponents on either side of me.”
Shoma Uno Team placed third in the free skate, earning 10 points for Team Japan and Keiji Tanaka ranked sixth (7 points). Earlier in the day Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto danced into sixth adding seven points to the team’s total.
“For Team Japan we got several season’s best scores,” said Komatsubara, the team captain. “Pairs and singles are difficult to predict, just as Madison said. Our ladies said, ‘Leave the rest to us,’ and I’m very proud of what they said. I hope everybody will finish with a smile tomorrow.”
Team Russia opened the day with 12 points courtesy of Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert who twirled into first in the pairs short program. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov earned another 11 points for a second-place finish in the ice dance discipline. Andrei Lazukin and Alexander Samarin rounded out the day finishing eighth and ninth, respectively, adding another nine points to their team’s total.
“Today our pairs team started off very well with a personal best score and won the short program.” Katsalapov said. “I hope they’ll continue the same way. Victoria and myself also set a personal best and skated very well. Our guys were trying very hard. We have very strong opponents and the gap to first place is very big. I put my hopes on our pairs team and Lisa Tuktamysheva who is in very good shape. We hope maybe to move up one spot or at least to hold our position.”
It was a day of fourths for Team Canada, which now sits in fourth with 59 points. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro and Keegan Messing all placed fourth in their respective disciplines.
France sits in fifth with 54 points. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won the ice dance final while their teammates Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès placed second in the pairs short program.
Team Italy remains in sixth place with 52 points. Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise ranked highest of the day with a third-place finish in the pairs short. Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri danced into fifth and Matteo Rizzo and Daniel Grassl placed fifth and 11th respectively in the men’s final.