Fernandez on track for 5th Euro figure skate title

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (AP) Russian teenager Evgenia Medvedeva won gold at the European championships with a world record score on Friday for her second straight title in the women's competition.

Leading after the short program, the 17-year-old performed an almost perfect free skate. She opened in great fashion with a beautifully executed combination of a triple flip - triple toe loop to the soundtrack from ''Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'' by Alexandre Desplat and went on with a flawless triple lutz, triple loop and triple flip.

For the best free skate which no one could match, she earned 150.79 points - surpassing the mark she set last year - and a total of 229.71, beating Yuna Kim's record.

''Today, I'm really satisfied with my performance,'' Medvedeva said. ''I had really fun, it was amazing.''

Medvedeva stormed the senior category last season, claiming gold on her debut at both the European and world championships, and is continuing in the same fashion this season with an unbeatable mixture of technical precision and elegance.

She even produced one more combination than needed in her free skate.

''Because I wanted to do a little bit more than normal,'' she said. ''It wasn't expected, right?''

Fellow Russian Anna Pogorilaya, who finished third at the last two continental championships, was a distant second with 211.39 despite her third best free skate.

In a highly anticipated return, five-time European champion Carolina Kostner of Italy took bronze with 210.52 to prevent the Russians from sweeping the podium for a third straight year.

Kostner came back to the elite level this season after an absence of almost three years following a suspension for helping her then-boyfriend Alex Schwazer to evade doping controls.

Another Russian, Maria Sotskova was fourth on her debut, ahead of France's Laurine Lecavelier.

Earlier Friday, Javier Fernandez earned a personal-best score to lead the short program and stay on track for a fifth straight European figure skating title.

Skating to ''Malaguena'' performed by Paco de Lucia and Placido Domingo, Fernardez's opening quad toe loop-triple toe loop was perfect, and so was the Spaniard's following quad salchow and triple axel.

''Half of the work is done,'' Fernandez said. ''I just have to keep focus for tomorrow. It's a longer program, way more harder.''

The two-time world champion's 104.25 points saw him move almost 10 points above Maxim Kovtun ahead of the free skate scheduled for Saturday.

The Russian, who was second in 2015 and third last year at the continental championships, nailed a quad salchow-triple toe loop to score 94.53, also his personal best.

Last year's silver medalist, Alexei Bychenko of Israel, finished third with a score of 86.68, while newly-crowned Russian champion Mikhail Kolyada was fourth with 83.96.

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