Asada tops Nagasu to claim ladies lead in Sendai

Two-time Japanese world champ builds 6.77-point adantage over American

Mao Asada is hoping for another Grand Prix gold after winning earlier this year in Shanghai.
Mao Asada is hoping for another Grand Prix gold after winning earlier this year in Shanghai. (Getty Images)


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By International Skating Union
(11/23/2012) - Mao Asada of Japan captured the ladies short program at the 2012 NHK Trophy, ahead of America's Mirai Nagasu and China's Zijun Li. All three ladies set new season's bests for themselves.

Performing to "I Got Rhythm" by George Gershwin, Asada completed a double Axel, a triple flip-double loop combination and a triple loop, as well as three Level 4 spins and Level 4 footwork. The two-time world champion earned 67.95 points.

"I am very happy with my short program," Asada said. "Similar to my performance [at Cup of China], it went very well. I think it will pave the way for another good performance tomorrow, but I want to go into the free skating with a new feeling."

Nagasu landed a somewhat shaky triple toe-triple toe combination, but also nailed a triple loop and double Axel in her routine to "Downhill Special" by Benny Goodman. Two spins garnered Level 4s, as the Californian scored 61.18 points overall.

"I am very proud of myself for landing my triple toe-triple toe today," Nagasu said. "It's the first time that I've landed a triple-triple since I was 14. To 19 [years old], it is a big gap, and so it is a big accomplishment for me today.

"This year, I've been improving competition by competition, and so I'd like to take this as a stepping stone for my next competition."

Li's program to "Dark Eyes" was highlighted by a triple toe-triple toe combination, a double Axel and difficult spins. She earned 59.62 points.

"I am very happy that I was able to skate a clean short program with all my jumps and that I landed the triple-triple combination," Li said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to skate my best again in the free skating tomorrow."

Russia's Ksenia Makarova finished in fourth with 58.93 points, followed by Japan's Akiko Suzuki, who popped her Lutz and scored 58.60 points. Georgia's Elene Gedevanishvili placed sixth with 57.50 points.

U.S. International Classic champion Agnes Zawadzki of the U.S. settled into seventh place with 55.02 points.