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Kavaguti and Smirnov win pairs with patience

Three teams lurking behind separated by less than a point

Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov will compete in three Grand Prix Series events this year.
Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov will compete in three Grand Prix Series events this year. (Getty Images)

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By icenetwork.com
(11/04/2011) - Two-time world bronze medalists Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov won Friday's pairs short program despite skating over their time limit to the bluesy "All Alone" by Joe Satriani.

Kavaguti and Smirnov wowed the audience and won effortlessly with flawless side-by-side triple toes, earning them 64.45 points going into Saturday's free skate.

"We are satisfied with today's performance. This is our very first competition this season. We decided to compete in three Grand Prix this year as we didn't get to skate so much last year," Kavaguti said.

The Russians were followed by Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, who skated to "Borsalino" by Claude Bolling and came in second place with 60.78 points. The 2011 Canadian champions would have been behind crowd favorites Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang, but Dan Zhang doubled during their side-by-side triple Salchows, causing the 2006 Olympic silver medalists to come in a close third with 60.75 points.

U.S. silver medalists Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig came in fifth with 57.88 points after Evora stepped out of a triple toe. But a strong rest of the program, including a solid throw triple loop, kept them just three points behind the Canadians for second.