Mao Asada wins world championship title
SAITAMA, Japan -- Mao Asada of Japan topped the free skate on Saturday to capture her third world figure skating title.
Asada, who held a slim 1.42-point lead after the short program, under-rotated three jumps but finished with 216.69 points, 9.19 ahead 15-year-old Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia. Italy's Carolina Kostner, the 2012 world champion, took the bronze with 203.83 points despite only placing sixth in the free program.
Asada, who finished sixth at the Sochi Olympics, also won the world championships in 2008 and 2010 and became the first Japanese three-time champion.
Skating to Sergei Rachmaninov's "Piano Concerto No. 2," Asada opened with her trademark triple axel but under-rotated that one as well as a triple flip and double loop, but she earned high style points after impressing the judges.
"I was able to control myself and I have done what I had to do," Asada said. "I was much more nervous than I was for the short program but the cheering from the fans was with me and made me relax."
Yuna Kim, the defending champion, has retired and Olympic gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova of Russia wasn't competing at the worlds.
Kostner fell on the triple toe loop and singled a pair of double jumps.
"I wish I could skate again and do better," Kostner said. "It was really hard. The jumps did not work how I wished but this is the sport, right?"
Lipnitskaia's major mistake was falling on a triple salchow but she completed six other triple jumps.
"It is a shame that I missed the salchow," Lipnitskaia said. "I didn't do it correctly, therefor I fell. In practice I struggled with it as well and for the next season, we need to fix it."
Anna Pogorilaya of Russia was fourth and Gracie Gold of the United States finished fifth.
European champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy captured the ice dance title.
Cappellini and Lanotte finished fourth in the free dance Saturday, but had a big enough lead from the short program to win with a total of 175.43 points.
Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada were second, just .02 points behind. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were third on 175.37 points.
Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov finished first in the free dance to move up to fourth place overall with 174.38 points.
Defending champions and Olympic gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States did not compete.
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu won the men's event to become the first man in 12 years to win the Olympic and world figure skating titles in the same year.
Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany won the pairs event, claiming their fifth title in the event they have dominated since 2008.
Next year's world championships are in Shanghai.
Based on this year's placings, Japan and the United States both will be able to send three entrants to next year's world championships both men and women's events.
Russia will have three women, up from two this year but just two men.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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