Zagitova wins in France, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

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GRENOBLE, France (AP) – World junior champion Alina Zagitova recovered from a disappointing performance in the short program with a series of flawless jumps in the free to win the Internationaux de France on Saturday and qualify for the Grand Prix final.

The 15-year-old Russian, who won the Cup of China earlier this month, stood fifth after the short program following a stumble on her combination and a fall on her triple Lutz. Performing to “Don Quixote” in a red outfit, she delivered a superb free program to turn things around, landing all her jumps including a triple Lutz-triple loop combination and a double axel-triple toe.

Zagitova posted a season’s best free skate score of 151.34, winning with an overall total of 213.80 points. Maria Sotskova of Russia claimed silver with 208.78 points and Canadian skater Kaetlyn Osmond, the world silver medalist, dropped to third place after leading the short program. Osmond fell on a triple loop and finished with 206.77 points.

This was the fifth of six Grand Prix series culminating in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya, Japan, next month – the last competition featuring the world’s top skaters before the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The last Grand Prix event is Skate America at Lake Placid next week.

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