The competition at the Cup of China concluded Saturday in Shanghai with the Free Dance, Ladies, Pairs and Men's Free Skating. The Cup of China was the third of six events in the 2011/2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.
Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) dance off with gold
Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev of Russia secured the gold medal in the Ice Dance event. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) claimed the silver and the bronze went to Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones of France.
Bobrova/Soloviev delivered a strong performance to Walpurgis Night by Charles Gounod, picking up a level four for six of the eight elements. The European silver medallists scored 97.79 points and totaled 163.52 points. Today we definitely skated better than yesterday. We feel this was our best performance of the season so far and we still improve on that emotionally, technically, with our edges, the lifts and the speed of our spins, Soloviev commented.
Dancing to In the Mood and Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller, Shibutani/Shibutani produced difficult lifts and twizzles to earn 90.61 points. The World bronze medallists accumulated 148.40 points overall. We feel like this is a great stepping stone for us. We're competing next week, so we're looking forward to the process, Maia Shibutani said. We had a great time this week. Our free dance was a strong performance and we feel we've made some good improvements since the last competition, Finlandia Trophy. We are very happy with our first Grand Prix silver medal, added her brother.
Carron/Jones' Jazz medley was highlighted by strong twizzles and a level-four spin. The couple from France received 78.56 points to move up from fourth with a total of 130.30 points.We are very happy with our performance and we had a great time out there on the ice. It is a great beginning for us after we changed coaches, Carron told the post-event press conference.
Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland (GBR) slipped to fourth after falling on their final lift (130.97 points). Xintong Huang/Xun Zheng (CHN) came fifth at 120.11 points.
Carolina Kostner (ITA) skates to Ladies gold
Carolina Kostner of Italy skated to the gold in the Ladies event. Mirai Nagasu (USA) picked up the silver and the bronze went to Russia's Adelina Sotnikova.
Kostner landed four clean triples and only did a three-turn out of the last triple Salchow. The three-time European Champion earned a level four for all spins and level three for the footwork to score a seasons best of 120.26 points. Overall she racked up 182.14 points. After finishing second at Hilton HHonours Skate America, Kostner is qualified for the Grand Prix Final. I am so relieved to make it to the Grand Prix Final, the World bronze medallist said. Usually I struggle with consistency early in the season. The scores in this competition give me confidence that my programs have been accepted, she continued.
Nagasu's routine to Spartacus included three clean triples but both Lutzes were underrotated. The 18-year-old posted a seasons best with 112.26 points and remained in second place at 173.22. Coming off a bad skate at Skate Canada was very hard for me, because I really wanted to make it to the Final this year, but you might know that when I came to the Cup of China previously I did very well in the short program and then dropped to fourth place. To break that curse is such a huge relief to me. Coming here and skating well I'm just happy and ready for my next competition, Nagasu explained.
Sotnikova opened her program to Liebestraum with a triple Lutz-triple loop combination and hit three more triples, but stumbled on both double Axels. The World Junior Champion collected 106.21 points and won the bronze in her debut at the senior Grand Prix with 159.95 points. Overall I am not so pleased with my performance today, but I am happy about the triple Lutz-triple loop combination that I did. Some other elements didn't work out and in my next competition I want to do everything as planned, 15-year-old Sotnikova noted.
Kexin Zhang (CHN) moved up from fifth to fourth (153.32 points) and Christina Gao (USA) pulled up from eighth to fifth with 152.48 points.
Jeremy Abbott (USA) captures Men's title
Jeremy Abbott (USA) captured the title in a turbulent Men's event. Nobunari Oda of Japan moved up from fourth to second and China's Nan Song won the Free Skating to pull up from fifth to claim the bronze.
Skating to Exogenesis Symphony Part 3 by Muse, Abbott missed his opening quad toe, but recovered to reel off a triple Axel, four more triples and level-four spins. He was ranked third in the Free Skating with 149.17 points but overall moved up to first at 228.49 points. It was not my best but apparently I have good luck in China, Abbott said. I am happy to start off my season this way. I feel like I'm starting where I left off last season which means the season only will be better, so I'm excited about that, he continued.
Oda's program to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg featured two triple Axels and five other triple jumps, but he fell on an underrotated triple flip. The Grand Prix Final silver medallist scored 149.46 points which added up to 227.11 points. I didn't do my best, but I still got (a) higher (placement). I am happy to make the podium and next time I want to give a better performance, Oda said.
Song turned in a strong performance to the Hungarian Rhapsody, nailing a quad toe-triple toe combination, another quad toe as well as five triples to earn 154.03 points. He accumulated 226.75 points. I am still in shock about having won a medal. It is my first time to be in the top three in a senior competition and I was far behind in the short program, Song commented.
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN), second after the Short Program, and overnight leader Artur Gachinski (RUS) slipped to fourth and fifth respectively after some errors. Hanyu had 226.53 points and Gachinski 222.54 points.
Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) win Pairs event
Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov of Russia won the Pairs event. China's Dan Zhang/Hao Zhang took the silver and Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch of Canada earned the bronze.
Kavaguti/Smirnov gave a solid performance of their Clair de Lune program and landed a triple twist, throw triple Salchow and double Axel, but he doubled the second jump in the triple toe-triple toe sequence. The 2010 European Champions were awarded 122.23 points and accumulated a total of 186.74 points. It was a good start for the next competition, Kavaguti commented.
Performing to Totentanz by Franz Liszt, Zhang/Zhang produced a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, a high triple twist and triple loop, but she fell on the side by side Salchow. The 2006 Olympic silver medallists scored a seasons best of 117.10 to move up to second at 177.67 points. We did quite well today although we had some problems in the short program. Now we were second at Skate America and here which means we can go to the Final and hopefully we'll skate well there, Hao Zhang said.
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch showed strong lifts and a triple Salchow. However, she missed a triple toe and the throw triple loop. The Canadian Champions earned 111.26 points and slipped to third at 172.04 points. Today wasn't our strongest performance. We are a little bit disappointed with the silly mistakes that we made, but pleased that we could still attain enough points to keep our podium finish and have a chance to make the Final, Moore-Towers told the press.
Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig (USA) moved up from fifth to fourth at 170.63 points while Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) dropped to fifth at 169.47 points.
The Cup of China concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series resumes next week with the NHK Trophy in Sapporo, Japan. For full results please see www.isu.org