Lysacek edges Weir in men's short program at Cup of China

Updated: November 9, 2007, 10:42 AM ET
Associated Press

HARBIsN, China -- Evan Lysacek edged Johnny Weir in a duel between the current and former American champions in the men's short program in the Cup of China on Friday.

Lysacek was second at Skate America two weeks ago but improved by nearly 13 points over his short program performance with a routine to music from Zorro films. It included a quad-triple in addition to two other triple jumps. On the quad, though, he needed to put his hand down to keep his balance.

"It felt much stronger today than at my first Grand Prix Skate America. It's a good sign that I'm taking positive steps forward toward the later part of the season," Lysacek said.

Lysacek scored 81.55 points while Weir was at 79.90.

Weir had only a triple lutz-triple toe loop for his combination, but his spins were rated a bit higher in his performance to "Yunona and Avos," a Russian rock opera.

Weir took the national title from 2004 to 2006 before Lysacek won it in January.

Former two-time world champion Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland was a distant third as he was making his competitive debut this season.

Lambiel started with just a double axel and then fell on a quad attempt.

In the ice dance, Russians Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin continued to lead four-time U.S. champions and 2006 Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the United States. The Russians have a 100.97-96.70 margin entering the free dance.

Belbin and Agosto used an American bluegrass combination in the original dance with him wearing a hat but scored just 60.81 compared to the Russians' 62.20 who did a classic Cossack dance.

"Emotionally it was a strong performance, technically it still could have been better," Domnina said

Belbin and Agosto won Skate America two weeks ago. They are three-time medalists at the world championships.

Former world champions Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China took the pairs competition easily with a score of 176.75 points. They had trouble on their opening two jumps but straightened out after that.

Americans Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, making their international senior debut, were second with 154.66 although they had falls in their free routine on a triple salchow jump and a throw triple salchow and bailed out of a lift.

They were undefeated in junior competition last year, finishing with the junior world title.

The top two couples used different versions of music from "Romeo and Juliet."

The meet concludes Saturday with finals in three events.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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