GRENOBLE, France — World junior champion Alina Zagitova recovered from disappointment in the short program with flawless jumps in the free to win the Internationaux de France on Saturday and qualify for the Grand Prix Final.
Two-time world champion Javier Fernandez had problems with his jumps and fell twice during his free program but his big lead in the short was enough to secure victory in the men’s competition.
The 15-year-old Zagitova, who won the Cup of China this month, stood fifth after the short program following a stumble on her combination and a fall on her triple Lutz. Performing to “Don Quixote,” the Russian figure skater delivered a superb free program to turn things around, landing all of her jumps including a triple Lutz-triple loop combination and a double axel-triple toe.
Zagitova posted a season’s best free skate score of 151.34, winning with an overall total of 213.80 points.
“I am pleased with the free skating, because I did everything to the maximum,” Zagitova said. “Today was a new day, I started from scratch and tried to go out with a cool head.”
Maria Sotskova of Russia claimed silver with 208.78 points and Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada, the world silver medalist, dropped to third place after leading the short program.
Sotskova’s performance to “Clair de lune” by Claude Debussy included a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, five more triple jumps, as well as two double Axels.
“I was able to cope with my nerves,” Sotskova said.
Osmond, who also qualified for the Grand Prix Final, fell on a triple loop and finished with 206.77 points.
Fernandez, after his shaky free skate, saw his nearly 14-point lead over Shoma Uno of Japan reduced to 10.39 points. Misha Ge of Uzbekistan completed the podium.
Two-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron won the ice dance by breaking their own world record. After setting a personal best in the short program, the French pair dominated the free and finished with 201.98 points. They were 20.13 points ahead of two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States.
Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin were third, with 177.24.
Two weeks ago, Papadakis and Cizeron became the first ice dance team to break 200 points with 200.43 to win the Cup of China.
European champions Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia won their second grand prix this season ahead of home favorites Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres.
Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise of Italy claimed the bronze.
The last of the six Grand Prix is Skate America next week at Lake Placid. The Grand Prix Final is in Nagoya, Japan, next month, the last major competition before the Pyeongchang Olympics.