Yuzuru Hanyu not at his best, but golden at Grand Prix of Russia
Canada's Keegan Messing finishes 5th
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu won gold at the Grand Prix of Russia on Saturday in Moscow with a free skate well off his usual fluid assurance but far ahead of that of everyone else.
Hanyu, the Olympic gold medallist , started strongly on Saturday with two clean quads, but he stepped out of his second pass at a quad toe loop then fell on a triple and singled an axel.
Watch Hanyu's free program:
With his ankle wrapped in a bandage, Hanyu hobbled into a news conference and said he had aggravated a previous ankle injury in the morning practice.
He had considered dropping out, he said, but "I really love skating here. I really wanted to skate this program."
Watch Kurt Browning, Pj Kwong, and Carol Lane discuss the Grand Prix of Russia.
The injury leaves him uncertain about whether he'll compete in the Japanese nationals or in the Grand Prix Final in December, Hanyu said.
His free program total score of 167.89 was more than 20 points off his season best, but it was nearly 10 points ahead of Georgia's Morisi Kvitelashvili, who landed three clean quads.
"I really managed to execute everything I planned," Kvitelashvili said. "Not everything went smoothly."
I really had to fight for everything.— Canada's Keegan Messing on Saturday's free skate
Japan's Kazuki Tomono took bronze, moving up from fourth place after the short program.
Keegan Messing, the lone Canadian competing in Moscow, finished fifth with a total score of 220.75.
Messing was seventh after Friday's short program and produced the sixth best free skate. Interpreting his Charlie Chaplin routine, Messing opened with a perfect triple Lutz but wasn't smooth on most of his other jumps falling on both his quad toes and landing one of his two triple Axels cleanly.
''I really had to fight for everything,'' said Messing, a silver medallist earlier this month at Skate Canada. ''I can leave here knowing I gave it a solid fight.''
Watch Messing's free program:
Russia won three gold medals on Saturday. Besides Zagitova, Russia skaters Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin won ice dance, posting a season-best free dance score of 124.94.
Watch Stepanova and Bukin's winning ice dance routine:
In pairs, Russians bracketed the podium positions, with Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov winning and the bronze going to Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin. In between, with silver, were Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise of Italy.
Watch Tarasova and Morozov cap their winning performance:
Tarasova cut her chin badly enough in the morning practice session that she needed stitches and the pair said the ordeal threw them off.
Watch more action from the Grand Prix of Russia on Road to the Olympic Games on Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. ET (CBC, CBCSports.ca).
With files from CBC Sports