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Canadian pairs duo Stellato-Dudek, Deschamps 3rd after short program at Grand Prix Final

Miura and Kihara, the winners of Skate Canada and the NHK Trophy, landed their side-by-side triple toe loop and a big throw triple lutz to earn 78.08 points, nearly eclipsing their own season best.

The Canadians were followed by the two Italian teams of Sara Conti and Niccolo Macci, and Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini, as well as the second American team of Emily Chan and Spencer Akira Howe.

In the men’s event, world champion Shoma Uno led a Japanese sweep of the first three spots following his short program, scoring a world-leading 99.99 points to “Gravity” by John Mayer. Sota Yamamoto and Kao Miura were close behind, while American phenom Ilia Malinin was in fifth after a series of shaky jumps.

Uno, who has two silver and two bronze medals from the Grand Prix Final, did what he could to position himself for gold. He landed his opening quad flip, a quad flip-triple toe loop and triple axel in his best short program this season.

Yamamoto was more than five points behind with 94.86 for his short program. Miura scored 87.07 points, while Daniel Grassl (80.40) performed well for his home crowd.

Malinin faltered through his program to leave him playing catch up, though his big-air quads — and the quad axel that only he has landed in competition — keep his podium probabilities alive.

The Grand Prix Final features the top six skaters or teams from the Grand Prix circuit.

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