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Davis and White set new standard in Moscow

World champions prevail by 17.88 points, set up Grand Prix Final showdown with Virtue and Moir

Meryl Davis and Charlie White have qualified for their fourth straight Grand Prix Final.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White have qualified for their fourth straight Grand Prix Final. (Getty Images)

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By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(11/26/2011) - Meryl Davis and Charlie White not only won Rostelecom Cup by a commanding 17.88 points, they improved upon their Die Fledermaus free dance in the process.

The fleet-footed world champions earned 109.12 points for their second outing of the light-as-air program, which featured five Level 4 elements including a stunning fast rotational lift. The three-time U.S. champions gained pluses on grades of execution across the board and an extraordinary program component total of 58.27 for the highest free dance score of the season. In doing so, they eclipsed the mark they set at Skate America as well as archrival Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's scores at Skate Canada and Trophee Eric Bompard. Their final tally, 179.06, is also the season's high to date.

"The program was quite new going into Skate America. We were very pleased with how it went there, but after four weeks at home between Skate America and coming to Cup of Russia, we felt a lot more confident with the program; it felt more solid," Davis said. "And we're excited to see where it goes."

Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje won their third Grand Prix silver medal of the fall with the finest version of their angsty "Je Suis Malade" free dance to date, earning 96.73 points -- a new personal best -- for their dramatic performance, which was highlighted by smooth and inventive lifts. They ended with 161.18 points, shattering their previous high set during their fifth-place finish at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships.

"Andrew and I are very happy with how we performed today," Weaver said. "This was our third Grand Prix performance for this free dance. It was a bit of a daunting task when we set out to do it, but I think it paid off. We've gained valuable experience and mileage for both of our programs."

Hometown favorites Ekaterina Bobrova and Dimitri Soloviev, sixth at the 2011 worlds, won their second Grand Prix medal of the season with an expressive program to music from the opera Faust that suffered a bit from some sloppy lift exits. Still, their program components were judged higher than the Canadians' and they ended with 156.83 points.

"We are satisfied with our performance as we were able to project the emotions well, even if the technical side was lacking a little," Soloviev said. "But we know what we have to work on, and overall we performed better than at the Cup of China."

The three top teams here will join Virtue and Moir, U.S. world bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, and Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France at the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City in December.

Information from the ISU press release was used in this article.