World champ Medvedeva leads NHK Trophy after short program

OSAKA, Japan (AP) Two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva leads the NHK Trophy after the short program on Friday.

Skating to Nocturne, Medvedeva hit all her jumps at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium to receive 79.99 points.

Carolina Kostner of Italy was next with 74.57 points, followed by Russia’s Polina Tsurskaya with 70.04.

Medvedeva won the Rostelecom Cup at home in Russia last month and is in Osaka aiming to book her trip to next month’s Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.

In the pairs short program, world champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han were in first place.

Skating to ”Hallelujah,” the Chinese duo scored 79.43 points to finish ahead Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov.

Earlier Friday, Yuzuru Hanyu withdrew from the event after injuring his ankle in practice, a setback that could have a serious impact on his preparations for an Olympic title defense.

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