The competition concluded at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, Russia, Saturday with the Ladies, Pairs, Men’s Free Skating and the Free Dance. Rostelecom Cup was the sixth and last event and thus the last chance for athletes to earn a spot for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Fukuoka, Japan, next month.
Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) clinches gold
Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia clinched the gold in the Ladies event, edging out Carolina Kostner of Italy by less than one point. Mirai Nagasu (USA) pulled up one spot to take the bronze medal.
Lipnitskaia produced a triple flip-double toe, double Axel-triple toe and two more triples as well as her trademark spins in her program to “Schindler’s List”, but she fell on her opening triple Lutz. With 118.56 points she was ranked second in the Free Skating but remained in first place overall at 190.80 points. “I am happy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final with two first places, but I am not satisfied with my free skating. That was one of my worst performances ever. I will have to change something in my preparation and try not to repeat something like this. I was very nervous and when the first jump didn’t work, I wasn’t able to pull myself together”, the 15-year-old explained.
Kostner’s routine to “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov featured a four triple jumps and three level-four spins, but she stepped out of the triple loop and touched down on the triple Salchow. The five-time and reigning European Champion scored 122.38 points, a seasons best, and accumulated 190.12 points. “I am very pleased with how I skated. I had a few mistakes, that is how it goes building up to an important event. I am happy to see that I’m moving forward. I really enjoyed skating here. The Russian audience is amazing, I felt very welcomed”, the reigning World silver medalist said.
Skating to a James Bond Medley, Nagasu landed five triples and two double Axels to earn 114.93 points. She totaled 175.37 points. “I am really with the way I skated today. It’s a huge improvement from my last competition at NHK. I wish that I could have put two together and make it to the Final, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. I’d like to take it as a blessing in disguise, because I have more time to train for Nationals and focus on making the Olympic team there”, the Californian noted.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS) remained in fourth place (171.87 points) and Satoko Miyahara (JPN) finished fifth (165.76 points). Agnes Zawadzki (USA) dropped from third to sixth at 163.21 points.
Lipnitskaia qualified with two victories and the maximum of 30 points for the Final. Kostner is second alternate for the Final with a silver and bronze medal from the circuit.
Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy skate to Pairs gold
Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy of Germany skated to the gold medal in the Pairs event. Russia’s Vera Bazarova/Juri Larionov took silver and the bronze went to Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch.
Savchenko/Szolkowy’s program to Tchaikovski’s “Nutcracker” was highlighted by a throw triple flip, triple twist and difficult lifts and spins, but he doubled both toeloops while she singled the Axel. The four-time World Champions earned a level four for four elements and scored a seasons best of 133.08 points. They totaled 206.33 points. “Today’s performance was a little better than the long program in our first Grand Prix Cup of China. That was our goal for this competition, to improve on some elements”, Szolkowy said. “I gave it my best today. I felt sore (from the fall in the short program), but I told myself, I’ll fight through it”, Savchenko noted.
Bazarova/Larionov turned in a solid performance of their program to “Polovetisan Dances”, completing a triple twist, throw triple loop, side by side triple toes and three level-four elements.
The Russians earned 131.89 points, a seasons best, which added up to 201.61 points overall. „Concerning today, we are most of all happy that we were able to deal with our nerves and could put away all the thoughts we had after the unsuccessful short program. It was good that we worked together at the right time and with all the problems we had we tried to show everything and it’s good that we did”, Larionov told the press.
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch produced a triple toe-triple toe sequence, a throw triple loop and Salchow, but she fell on the exit of their toe Lasso lift. The Canadians picked up 123.08 points and remained in third place at 188.73 overall. “Our skate today definitely wasn’t an improvement on our first Grand Prix Skate America. We had a couple of weird things happen, but for the most part we were strong from the beginning to the end. Our skating skills are improving every time out. We are excited to have made the Final where we will have better performances”, Moore-Towers commented.
Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) pulled up to fourth place with 188.10 points. Julia Antipova/Nodari Maisuradze (RUS) finished fifth at 181.50 points. They performed a quadruple twist.
Savchenko/Szolkowy are now headed to the Grand Prix Final with two victories under their belt. Moore-Towers/Moscovitch made it with a silver and a bronze medal. A second and a fourth place was not enough for Bazarova/Larionov, though.
Tatsuki Machida (JPN) claims victory
Tatsuki Machida of Japan claimed victory in the Men’s event. Russia’s Maxim Kovtun slipped to second to take the silver medal. Spain’s Javier Fernandez earned the bronze.
Performing to “Firebird”, Machida nailed a quad toe-double toe combination, a triple Axel-triple toe and four more triple jumps. Two spins and the step sequence merited a level four and the Skate America Champion picked up 172.10 points. He racked up 257.00 points overall and overtook overnight leader Kovtun to win his second Grand Prix gold medal this season. “I am so happy to have I got first place and a spot in the final. There is not much time before the Grand Prix Final, so I have to start working soon. I am still not in a good condition and today I showed only about 40 to 50 percent of what I wanted to show. I landed the jumps, but it cost too much energy”, Machida said.
Kovtun hit a quad toe triple Axel and triple Salchow-double toeloop in his program to Tchaikovski’s Piano Concerto No. 1, but he fell on his quad Salchow and singled a Lutz and made some other errors. The 18-year-old was ranked fourth in the Free Skating with 147.81 points and dropped to second at 240.34 points. “I am absolutely not pleased with my performance. It is a shame, because I put in so much work when I look back. The coaches are upset and don’t know what the problem was. Maybe it started with the first mistake when I fell. I felt exhausted and I didn’t have any speed going into the second quad. I need more stamina in order to skate with more confidence”, Kovtun analyzed.
Fernandez struggled with several jumps as well in his routine to the “Peter Gunn” soundtrack, when he almost crashed into the boards on his quad toe and stumbled on the first quad Salchow. He scored 145.12 points and totaled 226.99 points. “Today it was another hard day for me. I guess, I’m saving it for the next competition. My goal was to go to the Final, it’s not going to happen now, because I didn’t skate well here. I’m going to take something positive out of it - I got extra weeks to train and to focus on what I have to improve”, the European Champion noted.
Konstantin Menshov (RUS) placed fourth with 223.03 points and Richard Dornbush (USA) moved up from seventh to fifth at 215.45 points.
Machida (30 points) and Kovtun (26 points) qualified for the Grand Prix Final.
Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) dance to gold
Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev of Russia danced to the gold medal. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje of Canada claimed the silver and Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) captured the bronze.
Dancing to “Four Seasons” and “Lacrimosa”, Bobrova/Soloviev produced difficult lifts and twizzles, earning a level four for these elements. The spin merited a level four as well, while the step sequences were a level two and three. However, Bobrova fell on a transition move. The European Champions were ranked second in the Free Dance at 99.90 points but overall remained in first place at 168.32 points. “Too bad about the fall, this was terrible. But aside from that it was a great skate and we enjoyed it. We have always to skate with these emotions, but we need to be a bit careful to control them. The levels were better than in our first competition, just the circular step sequence was second level, probably this was an effect of the fall”, Bobrova said.
Weaver/Poje turned in a Tango program to “Maria de Buenos Aires” and picked up a level four for five elements and a level three for the other three to score 101.64 points. They accumulated 168.32 points overall. “Andrew and I are very pleased. It was a personal best skate for us, not a personal best score, but we are very happy that we came back strong and fought today. We are happy that the audience felt we skated the best today. The support was incredible, that helped us to perform very well”, Weaver shared.
Chock/Bates performed to “Les Miserables” and skated also very well. Five elements merited a level four. They had a seasons best with 95.57 points and edged out Russia’s Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko for the bronze medal with 153.37 points. “Maddie and I a really happy with the week as a whole, especially our two performances. I think that this is our best competition to date. Our next event is U.S Championships, which will be our most important event and Olympic qualifier for us. We use this (competition) as a stepping stone for our preparation for that competition”, Bates explained.
Riazanova/Tkachenko slipped to fourth with 152.36 points. Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin (RUS) finished fifth at 145.92 points.
Bobrova/Soloviev qualified with a silver and gold medal for Fukuoka while Weaver/Poje booked their ticket to Japan with two silver medals.
For full results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2013/14 please refer to www.isu.org. The top six qualifiers from the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in each discipline will compete in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Fukuoka, Japan (December 6-8).