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Ando climbs the standings to win gold

Wagner takes silver in Moscow

Miki Ando leads the ladies after the short program in Tokyo.
Miki Ando leads the ladies after the short program in Tokyo. (Getty Images)

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By icenetwork.com staff
(10/24/2009) - A newly elegant, stunningly attired Miki Ando won the free skate and the title in Moscow, while Ashley Wagner turned in a strong performance to claim silver.

The ladies' standings after the short program shifted every which way. In the end, overnight leader Julia Sebestyen dropped to sixth while U.S. champion Alissa Czisny settled for fourth.

There was one constant: Mao Asada's troubled start to the Olympic season continued. The 2008 world champion landed just two clean triples en route to a fifth-place finish.

Portraying Cleopatra in an intricate program choreographed by Lea Ann Miller and Nikolai Morozov, Ando played it conservative, reducing her usual triple Lutz, triple loop combination to a triple, double. Although she fell on the second jump of a double Axel, triple toe combination, she hit four other triples (including a triple Salchow, double loop) and gained 3s and 4s on all of her elements.

Ando, who won the world title in 2007 and took world bronze last season, earned 114.75 points for her free and 171.93 overall.

Fifth after the short, Wagner climbed up three notches with a well-skated routine choreographed by Irina Romanova to Borodin's "Polovetsian Dances."

The 18-year-old, who trains under Priscilla Hill in Wilmington, Del., opened with a triple flip, double toe combination followed by a solid triple loop. Although her second triple flip, done in sequence with a double Axel, was downgraded, she hit two other triple jumps as well as two double Axels, one in combination with a double toe.

Wagner and Hill were delighted with the skater's free skate tally of 108.81 points, a new personal best, and her overall score of 163.97.

World junior champion Alena Leonova showed lots of personality in a fun program to music from Chicago. The 18-year-old Russian hit three clean triples, all in combination, to earn 103.28 points and the bronze medal with 160.06.

Czisny's free to Dr. Zhivago was elegant as always, gaining high levels for spins and a stunning spiral sequence. Although she landed two triple Lutzes, downgrades from the technical panel hurt her technical score and she landed off the podium with 158.30 points.

Asada's chances began, and ended, with her triple Axels. The 19-year-old Japanese star fell on her first attempt and popped her second into a single. She landed just two other clean triples in her free skate to Rachmaninov's heavy-handed "Bells of Moscow" earning 98.34 points, some 34 points off her personal best.

Lynn Rutherford contributed to this report.