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Virtue, Moir cruise to victory at NHK Trophy

Hubbell, Donohue outlast Cappellini, Lanotte en route to silver
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On the strength of a career-best free dance, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir claimed their second consecutive NHK Trophy title. The Canadian world champions accrued 117.72 points for their 'Moulin Rouge!' routine, and with an overall score of 198.64, they earned their second gold medal in this year's Grand Prix Series, qualifying them for the Grand Prix Final for the seventh time in their career. -Getty Images

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada won their second Grand Prix gold of the season as competition concluded at the 2017 NHK Trophy on Sunday afternoon. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. took the silver medal, and the bronze went to 2014 world champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte.

Virtue and Moir delivered a confident, passionate performance to "Tango de Roxanne" and "Come What May" from the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack, completing spectacular lifts, well-synchronized twizzles and smooth step sequences. The world champions collected a Level 4 for their lifts, spin and circular footwork. 

The 2010 Olympic champions scored a personal-best 117.72 points on the day, giving them a total of 198.64.

"We've made some improvements this week from Skate Canada that we're quite proud of," Moir said. "We only had one week. We're looking to make the same sort of transition into the (Grand Prix) Final. It's a great stepping stone here for us."

Hubbell and Donohue's bluesy dance to "Across the Sky" and "Caught Out in the Rain" featured Level 4 lifts and twizzles as well as a Level 4 serpentine step sequence. The Skate Canada bronze medalists scored 112.04 points for the free dance, which, when added to their short dance score, gave them 188.35 overall.

"We felt like we did a really artistic performance of our program. We left some points on the table, but we'll be going home, working," Hubbell said. "We're growing a lot as a team, learning how to compete consistently. We're hoping that this result is enough to make it to the Final. We're going home to practice with this intention."

Dancing to music from the movie La vita e bella, Cappellini and Lanotte also produced a strong performance, earning a Level 4 for six elements and achieving a new season's best of 110.69. Overall, the Italians garnered 186.56 points.

"We're very happy with the way we skated here," Cappellini said. "We're just not as ready as we wanted to be. We're still learning to express our material to its full potential. We're looking forward to just skating and not thinking too much about what we're doing. We'll go home and train night and day, and hopefully we'll be able to deliver a more powerful performance in a couple of weeks at Skate America."

With gold medals at both of their events, Virtue and Moir qualified for the Grand Prix Final. With a bronze and a silver in their two events, Hubbell and Donohue will have to wait and see if they get to go to the competition in Nagoya.

Russia's Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov finished fourth (177.15 points), while Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen of Denmark moved up from sixth after the short to place fifth overall (164.40).