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Zabijako, Enbert deliver golden display in Bratislava

Russians claim another Ondrej Nepela medal; Parsons second in dance
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Russia's Natalia Zabijako and Alexander Enbert claimed gold Friday in Bratislava, their second straight medal at the Ondrej Nepela Trophy. -Getty Images

Natalia Zabijako and Alexander Enbert rose from second after the short program to claim pairs gold Friday at the 2017 Ondrej Nepela Trophy in Bratislava, Slovakia. In ice dance, reigning champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev hold the lead over Americans Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons.


Performing to Peter Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty, Zabijako and Enbert -- who won silver at this event last season -- cruised to victory in the free skate by achieving 128.06 points, which helped them claim the overall title by a slim margin over Russian teammates Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov.

Astakhova and Rogonov -- who earned 191.12 total points to Zabijako and Enbert's 192.58 -- slotted second in the free skate and second overall to earn their second silver medal at the Ondrej Nepela in three seasons.

Completing the Russian sweep of the podium were Alisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin. The duo finished third in both segments, and ended their trip to Slovakia with the bronze medal.

Team USA's Jessica Pfund and Joshua Santillan (158.10 points), and Erika Smith and AJ Reiss finished fourth and sixth overall, respectively.

Ice Dance

Bobrova and Soloviev opened their quest for a second straight Nepela crown by earning a solid short dance score of 71.08, a mark that provided them with a near four-point lead over their American competitors.

Making their Challenger Series debut, the Parsons siblings -- who won gold at last season's U.S. Championships and the World Junior Championships -- scooped up 67.48 points to remain within striking distance of the Russians, while also creating separation between themselves and Betina Popova and Sergey Mozgov.

The second Russian pair to crack the top three, Popova and Mozgov secured 60.98 points in just their second competition as a team.