US' Nathan Chen competes in the Men Free skating program during the ISU figure skating France's Trophy, in Grenoble, French Alps, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Chen outclasses field in France to lock up spot in final

November 24, 2018 - 11:39 am

GRENOBLE, France (AP) — World champion Nathan Chen won the last round of figure skating's Grand Prix series and secured a spot in next month's final with a pulsating free skate at the Internationaux de France on Saturday.

Oozing confidence despite an untidy short program on Friday, the American skater outclassed the field in scoring 184.64 for an event-winning total of 271.58. He won by 15 points.

Victory ensured him a spot in the Dec. 6-9 final in Vancouver, Canada, reserved for the top six skaters or pairs in each discipline from the Grand Prix series.

Chen also won the series' first event, Skate America, in October.

The 19-year-old Chen's free skate in the French Alpine city of Grenoble featured three tough quad jumps.

Countryman Jason Brown was second overall, placing third in the free skate with a more pedestrian routine that lacked quads. Brown also avoided quads in winning the short program on Friday. His overall score was 256.33.

Third overall was Alexander Samarin of Russia, with 247.09.

Neither Brown nor Samarin finished among the series' top six.

In ice dance, the French pair of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron was untouchable, winning the free dance after winning the rhythm dance on Friday, for a total of 216.78.

But the three-time world champions and Olympic silver medalists will not be at the final, having missed the previous five events in the Grand Prix series.

Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov will be in Vancouver, having secured their spot with second place. The Russian couple scored 200.38 overall.

Finishing fourth in France, with an overall of 181.47, was enough for Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker to also qualify for the final. The American couple previously won the Japanese leg of the series, the NHK Trophy.

But Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier missed out, with their third place in Grenoble not enough for a finals berth. They scored 188.74 overall.

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