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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Set for 1-2?

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Alexei Yagudin's hopes of defending his men's world figure skating title brightened Tuesday due to an injection to ease pain in his foot and the meltdowns of three first-round leaders.

But Yagudin will claim his fourth consecutive world crown only in the unlikely event that his countryman and leader Yevgeny Plushenko finishes fourth or worse in Thursday's finale, when 24 competitors skate their long programs, worth half of the total score.

In an exciting evening of men's skating, Plushenko strengthened his hold on first place, winning the men's short program in a split decision over Yagudin and Todd Eldredge of the United States.