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Duhamel, Radford claim pairs title at NHK Trophy

Kavaguti, Smirnov take silver; Yu, Jin head to Grand Prix Final for first time
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Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford made a few missteps in their Muse free skate, but they were still heads and shoulders above the rest of the field in Osaka. The Canadian world silver medalists won the gold by more than 16 points and secured their spot in next month's Grand Prix Final in Barcelona. -Getty Images

Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford took the pairs title at the 2014 NHK Trophy. Russia's Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov claimed the silver medal and the bronze went to Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China.

Duhamel and Radford's free skate to a Muse medley was highlighted by a triple twist, a side-by-side triple Lutz and difficult lifts. However, Duhamel fell on the throw quadruple Salchow and stepped out of the throw triple Lutz. The world bronze medalists scored 127.08 points in the free for a final score of 199.78 to win their second Grand Prix gold medal of the season.

"Today was a more difficult day than yesterday," Radford said. "I think that we expected more of ourselves. We would have liked to land that throw quad [Salchow] and we had some other little stumbles during the program, but we fought our way through and managed still to get a good performance. We know we need to do better if we want to be on the top of the world podium in March."

Kavaguti and Smirnov completed a side-by-side double Axel, throw triple loop, Level 4 lifts and a Level 4 pair combination spin in their program to "Manfred Symphony" by Tchaikovsky, but Kavaguti missed the second jump in the triple toe-triple toe sequence and the throw quad Salchow. The Skate America champions earned 119.00 points for the free skate, which added up to 183.60 points overall.

"We have mixed feelings. We are pleased that we made it to the Grand Prix Final, but we are a bit upset that we were not able to cope with the technical side of our program," Smirnov said. "On the other hand, we are happy that we were able to show our free skating that we love so much -- the drama, the choreography -- to the Japanese fans."

Skating to "Humility and Love" from the Creation soundtrack, Yu and Jin produced a side-by-side triple toe, triple twist, throw triple loop and throw triple flip to collect a personal-best score of 121.85 points. The 2014 world junior champions were place second in the free skate but remained in third overall with 182.60 points.

"Today, I was able to really enjoy skating," Yu said. "After going back home, we'll prepare for the Grand Prix Final and we want to improve upon our performances from here."

The three medal-winning teams qualified for the Grand Prix Final, withYu and Jin making it for the first time.

Team USA's DeeDee Leng and Simon Shnapir came in sixth place with 138.24 points.