Figure Skating

Uno finishes second in France to secure return to GP Final

Kyodo, AP

World silver medalist Shoma Uno claimed second place after the men’s free program on Saturday at the Internationaux de France, securing a spot in December’s Grand Prix Final for his third consecutive season.

Uno, second after Friday’s short program, scored 179.40 points at Patinoire Polesud for a total of 273.32 at the fifth event of the Grand Prix series, despite missing practice after catching the flu before the tournament.

Spaniard Javier Fernandez topped the podium with a total of 283.71. Fernandez, after his shaky free skate, saw his nearly 14-point lead over Uno reduced to 10.39 points. Misha Ge of Uzbekistan completed the podium with a total of 258.34.

Nineteen-year-old Uno, who earned his first Grand Prix victory of the season at last month’s Skate Canada, will compete in the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, which is scheduled for Dec. 7-9.

“This tournament was very difficult. (I was recovering from the flu so) I couldn’t adjust myself before the tournament,” Uno said. “I have no sense of accomplishment. My goal is to do my best during the Grand Prix Final.”

In the women’s competition, Mai Mihara (202.12) and Yuna Shiraiwa (193.18) placed fourth and sixth, respectively.

Shiraiwa finished Friday’s short program in contention for her first Grand Prix podium finish in third place, but suffered a fall in her triple loop. She earned 127.13 for her free routine.

World junior champion Alina Zagitova recovered from disappointment in the short program with flawless jumps in the free skate and rallied from fifth place to capture the title.

Performing to “Don Quixote,” the Russian skater delivered a superb free program to turn things around, landing all of her jumps including a triple lutz/triple loop combination and a double axel-triple toe.

Zagitova posted a season-best free skate score of 151.34, winning with an overall total of 213.80 points.

“I am pleased with the free skating, because I did everything to the maximum,” Zagitova said. “Today was a new day, I started from scratch and tried to go out with a cool head.”

Fellow Russian Maria Sotskova claimed silver with 208.78 points and Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada, the world silver medalist, dropped to third place with 206.77 points after leading the short program.

Sotskova’s performance to “Clair de lune” by Claude Debussy included a triple lutz/triple toe combination, five more triple jumps, as well as two double axels.

“I was able to cope with my nerves,” Sotskova said.

In the ice dance, two-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won the title by breaking their own world record. After setting a personal best in the short program, the French pair dominated the free and finished with 201.98 points.

They were 20.13 points ahead of two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States. Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin were third with 177.24.