Takahashi, Asada lead at NHK Trophy as Gold skates to fourth


A pair of Japanese skaters took healthy leads at the NHK Trophy Friday in Tokyo, Daisuke Takahashi and Mao Asada, both medalists at the 2010 Vancouver Games, claiming first place after the short program.

It was a particularly strong showing for Takahashi, who had started his season with a disappointing fourth-place finish at Skate America last month. The reigning Olympic bronze medalist scored the season’s highest short program mark, registering a 95.55. Spain’s Javier Fernandez, a bronze medalist at the 2013 World Championships, was in second with a 84.78.

Asada, who won silver behind Yuna Kim in Vancouver, landed her crowd-pleasing triple Axel and was strong on her spins, the component that set her apart for a Skate America win in October. She claimed first place over veteran countrywoman Akiko Suzuki, scoring a 71.26 to 66.03.

Gracie Gold led the American charge in Tokyo, skating without legendary coach Frank Carroll, whom she began working with in September, in attendance. The 18-year-old stepped out of a triple loop, but scored a 62.83 to put her into fourth place.

Once again Adam Rippon was the surprise of the American men. The 23-year-old, a 2012 U.S. Championships silver medalist, was first for Team USA, placing fourth ahead of Jeremy Abbott (seventh) and Max Aaron (eighth).

Rippon had not factored into the men’s Olympic-team conversation just a month ago, but he finished ahead of reigning U.S. Championships winner Aaron at Skate America, winning the silver there. Abbott, himself a three-time national champion, was a disappointing sixth at Skate Canada and again looked shaky Friday.

In pairs, reigning world champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov were safely in the lead with a 82.03, far ahead of the second-place team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who scored a 70.13.

Americans Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier were fourth while reigning U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir placed fifth.

Takahashi’s short program score was the highest of any man this season. Reigning and three-time world champion Patrick Chan had scored a 88.10 at Skate Canada while Takahashi’s countryman Tatsuki Machida registered a 91.18 at Skate America.

NHK Trophy continues Friday night, Eastern Standard Time, with the ice dance short dance, featuring American Meryl Davis and Charlie White and siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani (below). The short dance will stream live on Universal Sports along with the pairs free skate, beginning at 10:05 p.m..

MORE: Yevgeny Plushenko starts comeback strong at small event

Canada wins men’s hockey world title; Latvia wins first medal

IIHF Hockey World Championship

TAMPERE, Finland — Samuel Blais scored two goals to rally Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the world men’s hockey championship on Sunday.

It’s a record 28th world title for Canada, and its second in three years. Russia has 27 while Germany has never won the trophy.

Blais netted with a backhand 4:51 into the final period for a 3-2 lead for Canada, which was playing in its fourth straight final.

“It feels really good,” Blais said. “We’ve been in Europe for a month and we’ve all waited for that moment to play for the gold medal game. And we’re lucky enough to have won it.”

Lawson Crouse, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton also scored for Canada, Peyton Krebs had two assists and goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 21 shots.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 4-2 from the left circle with 8:09 remaining and Laughton made it 5-2 with an empty net goal.

Adam Fantilli became only the second Canadian player after Jonathan Toews to win gold at the world juniors and world championship the same year.

Canada had to come back twice in the final.

John Peterka wristed a shot past Montembeault from the left circle 7:44 into the game. It was the sixth goal for the Buffalo Sabres forward at the tournament.

Blais was fed by Krebs to beat goaltender Mathias Niederberger and tie it 1-1 at 10:47.

Daniel Fischbuch put the Germans ahead again with a one-timer with 6:13 to go in the middle period.

Crouse equalized on a power play with 2:32 remaining in the frame.

It was the first medal for Germany since 1953 when it was second behind Sweden.

The two previously met just once in the final with Canada winning 6-1 in 1930.


Defenseman Kristian Rubins scored his second goal 1:22 into overtime to lead Latvia to a 4-3 victory over the United States and earn a bronze medal earlier Sunday.

It’s the first top-three finish for Latvia at the tournament. Its previous best was a seventh place it managed three times.

The U.S. lost in the bronze medal game for the second straight year. The U.S. team was cruising through the tournament with eight straight wins until it was defeated by Germany in the semifinal 4-3 in overtime.

Rubins rallied Latvia with his first with 5:39 to go in the final period to tie the game at 3 to force overtime.

Roberts Bukarts and Janis Jaks also scored for Latvia.

Rocco Grimaldi scored twice for the U.S. in the opening period to negate Latvia’s 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Matt Coronato had put the U.S. 3-2 ahead 6:19 into the final period.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

1 Comment

At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

Main draw play began Sunday, live on Peacock.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Turning 22 during the tournament, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw French Open Women's Singles Draw