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Japan's Hanyu wins Rostelecom Cup despite ankle injury


MOSCOW — Canada's Keegan Messing gained two spots in the overall standings with his free skate Saturday to place fifth in men's competition at the Rostelecom Cup, the fifth stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan won the gold medal with 278.42 points followed by Morisi Kvitelashvili of Georgia in second at 248.58 and Kazuki Tomono of Japan third at 238.73.

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."

Messing was the only Canadian entry at the competition. The next stop on the circuit is in Grenoble, France.

Hanyu, the Olympic gold medallist , started strongly on Saturday with two clean quads and appeared to be his usual assured self, but he stepped out of his second pass at a quad toe loop then fell on a triple and singled an Axel.

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."

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 Kvitelashvili, who landed three clean quads to make his first Grand Prix podium appearance.

"I really managed to execute everything I planned," Kvitelashvili said. "Not everything went smoothly."

Alexander Majorov of Sweden, who was third after the short program, had trouble on almost every jump after his opening quad and finished the free skate in 10th place.

Tomono said he had a bad case of the nerves at the beginning of his free skate and "was losing to myself," but then regained control to win his first Grand Prix medal.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press

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