Champs capture ice dance

, Last Updated: 11:41 AM ET

MOSCOW (AP-CP) -- World champions Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov easily won the ice dance Sunday, giving the home country its third victory in four events at the Cup of Russia.

The Russians skated a dramatic version of Tosca, full of spins and rotational lifts. They scored 111.68 for the free dance and 223.14 overall.

On Saturday, Russians Evgeni Plushenko and Irina Slutskaya captured the singles titles.

"It was really a pleasure for us to skate at home," Navka said. "Everything went easy today, except for a small mistake. In Moscow we skated definitely better, than at our two previous competitions."

Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov of Ukraine were second. Federica Faiella and Massimo Scalli of Italy were third, their first Grand Prix medal.

Navka and Kostomarov earned their second straight victory. They won the Trophee Bompard last week after losing for the first time since March 2003 at the NHK Trophy two weeks earlier.

"We know there is no victory without a loss," she said. "And on returning from Japan we changed a lot in our program and we hope it is better now."

Grushina and Goncharov skated to Four Seasons by Vivaldi in a comeback from injury. They missed the two previous Grand Prix events.

"Our skating was good enough for the first start," Grushina said. "This competition for us was very important -- the judges and the audience watched the routine for the first time, and made up their opinion of it.

"We were glad to try the ice of 2005 worlds," she said, referring to the venue, where the world championships will be held in March.

Navka and Kostomarov lead the overall standings to qualify for the Grand Prix final. Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, Bulgarians Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski, Galit Chait and Sergei Shanovski of Israel, Canadians Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon and Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France have also qualified.

Plushenko had little trouble beating U.S. champion Johnny Weir in the men's event. However, Weir leads the Grand Prix standings after two victories and a second this season entering the GP final on Dec. 16-19 at Beijing.

Brian Joubert of France, Ryan Jahnke of the United States, Li Chengjiang of China and Canadians Jeff Buttle and Emanuel Sandhu were the men's qualifiers. Plushenko was an alternate because the Cup of Russia was his only GP this season.

With two victories, Slutskaya leads the women's standings. World champion Shizuka Arakawa also qualified as have Japanese Miki Ando and Yoshie Onda and Canadians Cynthia Phanuef and Joannie Rochette.


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