OSAKA – World champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada won the ice dance title at the NHK Trophy for the second straight year with a strong free dance on Sunday.
The duo was in first place after the short program and retained the lead with a sublime skate to “Roxanne, Come What May.” Their winning total score was 198.64 points.
The victory qualified the Canadians for the Grand Prix Final next month in Nagoya. Virtue and Moir, the 2010 Olympic gold medalists, won their first GP Final title last season in Marseille, France.
Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were second with 188.35, while Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte took third for the second straight year on 186.56.
Hubbell and Donohue were third at Skate Canada and will have to await the results of the final two GPs to see if they will qualify for the GP Final. Cappellini and Lanotte also are in contention and will compete at Skate America in the last GP of the season.
“We really enjoy competing in front of the appreciative Japanese audience,” Moir stated after the triumph. “We are so happy with the victory because this means we can come back in a few weeks and compete in Japan again at the final (in Nagoya).”
In what is expected to be their final season of competition, Virtue and Moir, the silver medalists at the Sochi Games, have their eyes on trying to win the big prize once more.
“We are setting our sights on the Olympics,” Virtue commented. “We are gearing up for that. We are appreciative at this point in our career for this victory because it will probably be our last NHK Trophy.”
Japan’s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed (156.41) were ninth, while Misato Komatsubara and Timothy Koleto (132.41) placed 10th.
Next year’s NHK Trophy will be held in Hiroshima.