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Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross eliminated by Olympic champs at World Tour Finals

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Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross were eliminated by German Olympic champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst from the last major event of the season in the World Tour Finals quarterfinals on Friday in Toronto.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst prevailed 21-18, 19-21, 15-11 to advance to play Brazil’s Larissa and Talita in the semifinals Saturday. Full brackets and results are here.

At the Rio Olympics, Walsh Jennings and Ross were denied a final matchup with Ludwig and Walkenhorst when they lost to Brazilians Agatha and Barbara in the semifinals. Walsh Jennings and Ross rebounded to beat Larissa and Talita for bronze in Rio.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst have made the final four of seven straight international tournaments.

Walsh Jennings and Ross have won five international tournaments this season after winning none in 2015, last season shortened by Walsh Jennings’ fifth right shoulder surgery.

Walsh Jennings, 38, has not ruled out a run for a sixth Olympics in 2020.

Ross, 34, has said she planned to take a post-Olympic break to start a family but return for 2020.

On the men’s side, top U.S. pair Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena play for a place in the World Tour Finals quarterfinals on Saturday at 12 p.m. ET. Olympic champions Alison and Bruno of Brazil have already clinched a quarterfinal berth.

The NBC Sports app will have streaming coverage of the World Tour Finals on Saturday from 2:45-4:15 p.m. ET and further coverage of the men’s and women’s finals Sunday from 12:15-5 p.m. ET.

MORE: Walsh Jennings boycotts AVP Championships

Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future

Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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MORE: Adam Rippon opines on figure skating future