Ice Network

Higuchi holds off Kim to take gold at Lombardia

Nagasu nabs bronze; Della Monica, Guarise win pairs; Italians lead dance
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With her win in Bergamo, Wakaba Higuchi captured her first senior international medal. -Getty Images

Japan's Wakaba Higuchi hung on to win gold while Nicole della Monica and Matteo Guarise of Italy took the pairs title at the 2016 Lombardia Trophy on Saturday.

Ladies

Higuchi held a lead of more than five points after the short, but her free skate was rated only the third best of the day, resulting in a winning margin of 1.59 points. The two-time world junior bronze medalist had problems on several of her jumping passes: She opened her program with just a triple-double, doubled her lutz and and had her last double toe (done in combination with a double axel) invalidated. She wound up with 112.20 points for the performance, giving her a winning total of 178.86.

The winner of the free skate and the silver medal was Na Hyun Kim of Korea. She opened her routine with a triple loop-triple loop and later completed a triple flip-double loop-double loop in the second half of the program. In all, she landed six triple jumps in her 117.69-point performance, and she ended the week with 177.27 points.

Mirai Nagasu placed second in both phases of the competition to take home the bronze. The 2010 Olympian started off her "The Winner Takes It All" free with a clean triple flip-triple toe combo, and followed that with a triple lutz and a triple salchow. She also tacked on a double axel-triple toe after the midway point. She was awarded 115.57 points on the day and 176.86 for the event.

Pairs

The top two teams had much better performances in the free than in the short. Della Monica and Guarise's enactment of their Love Story routine was basically flawless, as the duo earned positive Grades of Execution on 11 of its 12 elements, including its side-by-side triple salchows and a soaring throw triple loop. It all added up to a personal-best segment score of 126.96 and an overall tally of 185.18 for the Italians.

Runners-up Valentina Marchei and Ondřej Hotárek were nearly as good as their countrymen, as they received positive GOEs on 10 of their 12 elements. Their James Bond free skate featured a clean throw triple loop, and they also landed impressive side-by-side triple salchow-double toes. They finished the segment with 120.16 points, giving them 179.56 for the competition.

Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini finished third with 144.70 points to make it a clean sweep of the medals for Italy.

Jessica Pfund and Josh Santillan landed both of their throw triples (salchow, loop) in their "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" free on their way to finishing third in the segment. The second-year American team concluded the week with 138.94 points, good for fourth place.

Dance

With a segment score of 63.04, Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy grabbed a lead of almost 10 points. Their Grease short dance was highlighted by a Level 3 step sequence that earned a 1.54 GOE from the seven-member judging panel.

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson were the only team to perform three Level 4 elements; in fact, no other squad was credited with more than one. The British duo racked up 53.38 points en route to a second-place finish.

Finnish champions Cecilia Törn and Jussiville Partanen snuck into third place courtesy of their 52.14-point mark in the segment.

Skating to "Why Don't You Do Right" by Amy Irving and "Tainted Love" by Imelda May, Team USA's Julia Biechler and Damian Dodge earned a score of 52.04, putting them just one-tenth of a point out of medal position.