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Machida stuns Takahashi in Cup of China triumph

Japanese men dominate, take top two spots; Voronov snags bronze; Rippon collides with Song

With the win in Shanghai, Japan's Tatsuki Machida likely earned a spot at the Grand Prix Final.
With the win in Shanghai, Japan's Tatsuki Machida likely earned a spot at the Grand Prix Final. (Getty Images)

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By International Skating Union
(11/03/2012) - The Japanese men took gold and silver, with Tatsuki Machida and Daisuke Takahashi finishing first and second, respectively, at Cup of China. Sergei Voronov of Russia collected the bronze medal.

Performing to "Firebird" by Igor Stravinsky, Machida nailed a triple Axel, a triple Lutz-triple toe and four more triples, but he fell on his quad toe. Two spins garnered Level 4 marks. The Japanese skater was awarded 153.44 points and overtook short program leader Takahashi with a total of 236.92 points.

"I am very happy to have won the gold medal, but I have to improve much more," Machida said. "I am surprised that I have a chance to make the Grand Prix Final. There is one month left before Sochi, and I hope to improve until then."

With his bronze from Skate America and the gold from China, Machida now tops the Grand Prix standings.

Takahashi went for two quads in his routine to I Pagliacchi, but both were not clean and were under-rotated. The world silver medalist landed four clean triples and picked up Level 4s for his footwork and spins to score 146.96 points. He slipped to second at 231.75 points overall.

"That was really bad for me. I need to practice more," the 26-year-old said. "There is not so much time left before NHK Trophy, and I had a lot of problems here because I didn't practice so well. Hopefully, I can do better next time."

Voronov opened his program to Romeo and Juliet with a somewhat shaky quad toe, and followed up with six triple jumps and Level 3 spins and steps. He earned 144.03 points and accumulated 217.61 points overall.

"In my program, most of my elements worked. I didn't do everything as planned. I took out the second quad toe," the two-time Russian champion said.

America's Adam Rippon came fourth with 205.48 points, and Kevin Reynolds of Canada finished fifth with 202.07 points.

Chinese skater Nan Song had to withdraw during the warm-up after he hit his head and suffered a concussion when he collided with Rippon. France's Brian Joubert withdrew during the morning practice due to illness (abdominal pain and fever).