Petrova, Tikhonov win pairs at Cup of China

Updated: November 4, 2005, 10:43 AM ET
Associated Press

BEIJING -- Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov won the pairs figuring skating competition Friday at the Cup of China, and Russians also led the other three events.

Andrei Griazev took the lead, edging Li Chenjiang of China and current senior world champion Stephane Lambiel. Also, world champions Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov widened their lead in the ice dance with a spicy Latin routine.

Another Russian world champion, Irina Slutskaya, had a brilliant short program Thursday and leads heading into Saturday's free skating when the men's and ice dance finals will be contested.

The Cup of China is the third of the International Skating Union's Grand Prix Series leading to the Grand Prix final in Tokyo from Dec. 16-18.

Petrova and Tikhonov had a routine to music from the movies of Federico Fellini. Petrova and Tikhonov were silver medalists in the world championships last March in Moscow and were the world champions in 2000

They did side-by-side triple salchows and a double axel-triple toe loop sequence. Their only mistake was a touchdown on a throw triple salchow.

"It was very difficult for us to skate after the long trip from Canada to China," Tikhonov said.

They were part of a small group that was in Newfoundland last week and was delayed traveling to Beijing.

Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China were second with Dorota Zagorska and Mariusz Siudek of Poland third.

The event was missing hometown favorites Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo. He tore an Achilles tendon in August, but they're hoping to make it to the Olympics. They won the world title in 2002 and 2004.

In the men's event, Griazev scored a personal best of 71.00 to take the lead.

"This is a good performance and I am looking forward to tomorrow's free skating," Griazev told China's news agency Xinhua. He is the 2004 junior world champion but did poorly in the Skate Canada last week.

He was virtually flawless this time in a program to "Carmen," hitting a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination at the start and adding a triple axel and triple flip.

Lambiel was the surprise winner of the senior world championships and was making his seasonal debut in GP competition.

He made a mistake on his opening jump, cutting down a triple axel to a double. He did a quad-triple combination following that in a routine to "Once Upon a Time in Mexico."

Earlier Friday, Navka and Roman Kostomarov of Russia were leading after the original dance using a combination of cha-cha, rhumba and samba dances to stay ahead.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press