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Zagitova rallies to win gold at Lombardia Trophy

Zabijako, Enbert claim pairs title; Guignard, Fabbri take dance lead
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In winning the Lombardia Trophy, Russia's Alina Zagitova posted the 10th-highest ladies free skate score of all time. -Getty Images

Russia's Alina Zagitova, making her senior international debut, performed one of the highest-scoring free skates of the IJS era en route to winning the title at the Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo, Italy, on Friday. Her compatriots, Natalja Zabijako and Alexander Enbert, captured the pairs title, while Italians Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri grabbed the lead in the dance event.


Zagitova gave a perfectly clean rendition of her Don Quixote free skate -- one that featured all 11 jump elements in the second half of the program. On the day, the reigning world junior champion racked up 147.17 points -- the 10th-highest ladies free skate score since the implementation of the international judging system -- and she amassed 218.46 points for the week. Only Evgenia Medvedeva, Yu-Na Kim and Adelina Sotnikova have ever posted higher marks for the free skate and total score.

Not to be oudone, Wakaba Higuchi of Japan also skated clean on her way to earning the silver. The Japanese silver medalist earned positive Grades of Execution on all 12 of her elements, including a pair of triple lutz-triple toe combinations. She was awarded 143.37 points for her "Skyfall" free skate, giving her a total tally of 217.63.

Despite performing just the fifth-best free skate of the day, Carolina Kostner hung on to win the bronze. The Italian struggled in the technical department throughout her free skate to Claude Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" but managed to post the highest program components score of the field (71.12).

Bradie Tennell gave what could be described as a breakthrough performance in the free, finishing third in the segment. Skating to music from the movie Cinderella, the 2015 U.S. junior champion landed six clean triples (four in combination) during the routine, for which she was awarded 132.36 points. He total competition score of 196.70 surpassed her previous personal best by almost 28 points and placed her less than two points behind Kostner, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist.

Team USA's Amber Glenn finished eighth with 149.96 points.


Zabijako and Enbert maintained their lead from the short program to capture their third career Challenger Series medal. The Russian bronze medalists cleanly landed both of their throw triples (lutz, loop) and also performed side-by-side triple toe-double toe-double loop combinations. Their segment score of 126.84 gave them a two-day total of 196.06, and they came away with their first gold medal in their three-year partnership.

Nicole della Monica and Matteo Guarise weren't able to defend their Lombardia title, but they did well enough to earn the silver, their fifth career medal in the Challenger Series. Skating to "Tree of Life Suite" by Roberto Cacciapaglia, the two-time Italian champions opened their program with side-by-side triple salchows and later added a throw triple salchow. Of their 191.39 total points, 124.73 came from the free skate.

Skating to the bronze were Valentina Marchei and Ondřej Hotárek, who racked up 119.54 points for their free to music from the Federico Fellini film Il Bidone (The Swindle). The Italian silver medalists' program was highlighted by two big throw triples (loop, lutz), and they captured their fifth career Challenger Series medal (in five tries) with a total score of 180.86.

Americans Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc had a difficult time with their Great Gatsby free skate, but they still managed to maintain their fourth-place standing.


Guignard and Fabbri, the reigning champions at this event, garnered a segment score of 70.26 to step out to a lead of almost seven points over Russians Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd. Highlights of the Italians' performance included the two step sequences (GOEs of 2.20 and 1.98) and a set of Level 4 twizzles.

Making their senior international debut, Loboda and Drozd tallied 63.34 points to slot into second. The reigning world junior silver medalists executed Level 4 twizzles and a pair of Level 3 step sequences worth 8.42 and 8.20 points.

Reigning U.S. pewter medalists Elliana Pogrebinsky and Alex Benoit slid into third place with a segment total of 61.36, just head of Ukraine's Alexandra Nazarova and Maxim Nikitin (61.06). The Igor Shpilband-coached team is seeking its second career Challenger Series medal, after picking up the bronze at the 2016 Tallinn Trophy.