The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final from opened Thursday in Quebec, Canada with the Junior Short Programs and Junior Short Dance. A total of 72 skaters (48 entries) from 11 ISU members are competing in the two Finals.
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) take Junior Pairs Short Program
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China took the lead in the Junior Pairs Short Program followed by Canada's Katherine Bobak/Ian Beharry and Britney Simpson/Matthew Blackmer (USA).
Sui/Han's lively program to American Country music was inlcuded a high double twist, throw triple loop and level-four pair spin, lift and death spiral. The two-time World Junior Champions scored 57.43 points. We are quite happy with this program, it was up to our level. The audience received us warmly, that was nice, Han said. We think competing here is a good practice for us for the future. Obviously we would have preferred the doing the senior elements as they are at a higher level, he added, referring to them returning to the Junior Final after winning bronze in the (senior) Final one year ago.
Skating to Out of Africa, Bobak/Beharry completed the required double twist, throw triple loop and side by side double Lutz as well as level-four footwork to earn a seasons best of 52.77 points. The home crowd is amazing. It is a lot of fun to perform in front of them. It is so exciting being here nothing I ever experienced like that before. This is one of my favorite programs and doing well feels so great, Bobak commented.
Simpson/Blackmer put out a good performance to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as well with a solid throw triple loop. They Americans picked up a seasons best of 50.91 points. It was a really good skate we had a strong connection between us. I feel it was an improvement from practice, Blackmer told the press.
Ekaterina Petaikina/Maxim Kurdyukov (RUS) came fourth at 48.75 points.
Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) leads Junior Ladies after Short Program
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia skated to the lead in the Junior Ladies Short Program. Polina Shelepen of Russia finished second and Vanessa Lam (USA) came third.
Lipnitskaia's routine to Dark Eyes was highlighted by a triple toe-triple toe combination, a double Axel, a triple Lutz and excellent spins. The 13-year-old earned 59.98 points. I can do better than that, for example the combination (triple toe-triple toe) could have been better and I wobbled in the footwork. Everything else was quite good. However, I skated much better at the Junior Grand Prix (in Italy, where she achieved a seasons best of 63. 71 points), technically it was a much better performance than today, the skater said.
Shelepen underrotated the triple Salchow-triple toeloop combination but pulled off a good triple Lutz , double Axel and three level-four spins in her program to Marco Polo by Ennio Morricone.
Lam turned in a solid performance to Time to Say Goodbye that included a triple flip-double loop and level-four spins, but the triple Lutz received an edge call. She posted as seasons best of 54.34 points. I felt the warm up went really well for me. I was pacing the performance and felt I presented the program well. I really worked on my transitions and they felt better here. The goal for the free skate is to land jumps and we worked on the presentation, the Californian told the press.
Risa Shoji (JPN) placed fourth at 51.33 points.
Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin (RUS) win Junior Short Dance
Victoria Sinitsina/Ruslan Zhiganshin of Russia won the Junior Short Dance ahead of teammates Anna Yankovskaia/Sergei Mozgov. Maria Nosulia/Evgen Kholoniuk of the Ukraine finished third.
Sinitsina/Zhiganshin put out a characteristic Cha Cha and Samba, picking up a level four for both Cha Cha Congelado sequences as well as for the twizzles and rotational lift. The defending Junior Grand Prix Final silver medallists earned 60.47 points. For me, this was our second best performance of the season. The (side by side) footwork wasn't perfect today. We would like to win the Final this year. This is something we have been working for, Sinitsina noted.
Yankovskaia/Mozgov's dance to Cha Cha and Samba was highlighted by level-four twizzles and a rotational lift. They picked up 56.22 points. Basically we could have skated better and this performance wasn't our best. But overall we are pleased with our performance. Probably our other skates this season were better, but regarding our world ranking this so far is our best result, Mozgov told the press.
Performing to Cha Cha and Samba, Nosulia/Kholoniuk delivered a smooth Short Dance and got a level four for the first Cha Cha sequence, the twizzles and the lift. The Ukrainians scored 53.95 points. Of course we can skate better, there is never a limit to perfection and we would never say that we were perfect, Nosulia pointed out. Tomorrow is my birthday and we we'll go out there ready to fight, she continued.
Defending Junior Grand Prix Final bronze medallists Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) came fourth as he fell on the twizzles (52.48 points).
Joshua Farris (USA) grabs Junior Men's Short Program
Joshua Farris of the USA grabbed the Junior Men's Short Program followed by teammate Jason Brown and China's Han Yan.
Farris hit a triple Axel, triple flip-double toeloop combination as well as the triple Lutz out of steps in his routine set to Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy. The American was awarded 72.99 points. I started with one of the best triple Axels of the season. I did the first triple (in the combination), but then I fell off my hip a little bit and I did the double to have a clean combination. I had a good Lutz, Farris said. This year I am more confident and I am focused on myself, he added, referring to his return to the Junior Final.
Brown's Tango routine was highlighted by his fast level-four spins, a triple flip-triple toe and a triple Lutz. He posted a new seasons best of 68.77 points. I tried to stay focused. I was very excited and I was trying to express my excitement to the audience. I hope the audience felt the same way. I think I improved from last year in the program components, skating skills. I tried to get more speed. I am confident about my program components for this year, Brown explained.
Skating to Waltz No. 2 by Dmitri Shostakovich, Yan singled his opening triple Axel but rallied to land a triple flip-triple toe combination and a triple Lutz. The reigning Junior Grand Prix Final silver medallist scored 64.23 points. I missed the take off, Yan commented on the Axel. I didn't feel much pressure.
Maxim Kovtun (RUS) is currently ranked fourth at 63.65 points.
The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continues Friday with the Junior Pairs, Junior Ladies Free Skating, the Men, Ladies and Pairs Short Programs and the Short Dance.