Delobel and Schoenfelder maintain lead in Japan

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder maintained their overnight lead despite a second place finish in the Original Dance (OD).

Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are second overall, followed by Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski of Russia.

Virtue and Moir delivered a strong performance to “Kalinka”, receiving a level four and positive Grades of Execution (GoE) on all elements.

Their routine was highlighted by matching twizzles during the midline sequence, an elaborate circular step sequence, and two difficult lifts.

The Canadian silver medalists earned a new personal best of 62.04 (33.60/28.44) points, but with a total score of 96.71 points, remain in second overall.

“It definitely felt better than at Skate Canada,” said Virtue. “We definitely had more energy. It was more fun because we felt the connection a little bit more. We’re very happy with it.”

Performing to a Gavotte (a French country dance), Delobel and Schoenfelder opened with a strong midline twizzle sequence, non-touching midline step sequence, and a unique straightline lift in which they incorporated the use of props.

The European champions also produced a level four rotational lift, however, their dance spin was short on revolutions and was only graded a level two.

“I think we were able to show the character of the dance,” said Schoenfelder. “This music is from the French west coast, the Bretagne (Brittany). The man I play wants to marry Isabelle, but she doesn’t agree right away. She first wants to test the man and we dance together. At the end of the dance, she agrees to marry him.”

The French champions placed second in the OD with 61.67 (31.10/30.57) points (matched their personal best from 2003 Skate America), but with a total score of 100.63 points, were able to maintain their overnight lead.

“We felt very confident today in our performance,” said Schoenfelder. “I know we still have to work on our technical elements. To receive a higher level for the spin and the circular step sequence, we have to skate cleaner and show deeper edges.”

Khokhlova and Novitski also earned a level four on all elements in their, but they received a deduction for an extended lift. Their Russian gypsy dance to Two Guitars routine was highlighted by a difficult straightline and rotational lift, as well as a very good combination dance spin (+.80 GoE).

The Russian silver medalists placed third in the OD with 57.84 ( 31.80/24.04) points, and with a total score of 92.07 points, remain in third overall.

“We are pleased with our performance today,” said Khokhlova. “We picked the Russian music because it is passionate and shows the love between a man and a woman. This kind of music is close to our soul.”

Sinead Kerr and John Kerr of Great Britain placed fourth in the OD with a new personal best of 54.47 (29.70/24.77) with their Scottish dance.

The brother-and-sister team earned a level four for all elements except for a level three circular step sequence, but received a -0.10 GOE on their final rotational lift. They are currently fourth overall with 86.26 points.

Kristin Fraser and Igor Lukanin of Azerbaijan are in sixth place overall (81.11 points), followed by USA’s Kimberly Navarro and Brent Bommentre (77.28 points).

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