Lysacek rises to third in latest world rankings
Reigning world champion makes a move on the pack
|Belbin Agosto (Getty Images)|
Japan's Akiko Suzuki captured her first gold medal in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series at the Cup of China and, as a result, saw her ranking improve the most of any skater last week, moving up nine spots to No. 7. Also making a big jump was Kiira Korpi of Finland, whose silver medal in Beijing -- her first of any kind in the Grand Prix Series -- vaulted her four places to No. 10. Holding at No. 3 was bronze medalist Joannie Rochette of Canada, while fourth-place finisher Rachael Flatt of the United States inched up two places to No. 9. Japan's Kanako Murakami continued her impressive start to the season by winning the gold at Ice Challenge, a victory that edged her up two notches to No. 16.
Nobunari Oda won his second gold medal in this Grand Prix Series and rose to No. 2 in the rankings, sitting a little more than 200 points behind Canada's Patrick Chan. Lysacek medaled at a Grand Prix event for the ninth consecutive time and returned to No. 3, the position at which he started the season. Russia's Sergei Voronov took the bronze in Beijing and rose one spot to No. 9, while the fourth-place finish of Italy's Samuel Contesti propelled him to No. 10, six places higher than he was last week. Remaining at No. 5 was Tomas Verner of Czech Republic, who took the top prize at Ice Challenge with an underwhelming score of 201.80.
Two-time Olympic bronze medalists Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao returned to competition for the first time in more than 21/2 years and didn't miss a beat, winning the gold on their home turf by almost 15 points. They debut in the rankings at No. 17. Silver medalists Dan Dan Zhang and Hao Zhang of China stayed at No. 3, while bronze medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov of Ukraine crept up one place to No. 7.
Belbin and Agosto easily won the gold at the Cup of China in their season debut, downing silver medalists Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski of Russia by nearly 14 points. The Russians moved up one spot to No. 4, while bronze medalists Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali of Italy dropped from No. 6 to No. 7. Fourth-place finishers Anna Zadorozhniuk and Sergei Verbillo of Ukraine re-entered the rankings at No. 17.
Correction: It was stated in last week's release that "(Meryl) Davis and (Charlie) White become the first U.S. skaters in any discipline to climb to No. 1 since the rankings were started in 2007." They are actually the second U.S. skaters to be ranked No. 1 overall. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto were ranked No. 1 for all but one week in the 2007-08 season.