Fukuoka / Japan

The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating opened Thursday in Fukuoka (JPN) with the Junior Ladies, Junior Men, Junior Pairs, Ladies and Men’s Short Programs. The events feature the top six skaters/couples in each category from the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series and the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.

Maria Sotskova (RUS) grabs lead in Junior Ladies Short Program

Maria Sotskova of Russia grabbed the lead in the Junior Ladies Short Program, followed by teammates Serafima Sakhanovich and Evgenia Medvedeva. „I think I did well today and I did everything I can do. I treat this competition as any other competition”, the 13-year-old said. “There are good coaches in Russia who are preparing us very well. And the girls in Russia are strong and talented”, she answered when asked about the success of the Russian Ladies.

Sakhanovich, also 13, produced a triple flip-triple toe, triple loop and level-four spins and footwork in her routine to “Don’t Deny When You Are In Love” by Mark Minkov to score 60.56 points, a new personal best. “I skated well, it was not extraordinary, like at home. This competition is similar to Russian Nationals, there are many Russian skaters and I am rooting for all of them”, the skater from St. Petersburg told the press. Medvedeva’s program to “Ballet Russe” featured a double Axel, triple flip-triple toe and triple loop, but two spins were graded a level three. The Muscovite picked up 58.75 points. “I had an injury, my left foot is hurting. I couldn’t train so much before coming here, but when I arrived, I felt much better and confident. The ice here is so good, it is fast it makes a nice sound. I think the elements were okay, but the main problem for me are the spins. I have weak spins. We’ll work on that”, the 14-year-old commented.

Alexandra Proklova (RUS) placed fourth at 51.27 points ahead of Polina Edmunds (USA) with 48.20 points and Angela Wang (USA) at 44.69 points.

Keiji Tanaka (JPN) wins Junior Men Short Program

Japan’s Keiji Tanaka edged out Adian Pitkeev of Russia for the lead in the Junior Men’s Short Program. Nathan Chen (USA) came third.
Tanaka’s program to “Instinct Rhapsody” included a triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe, triple loop and two level-four spins. He earned 73.63 points and set a new personal best. “For my short program I was quite nervous, but throughout the season I saw a good flow in my short program and I thought if I have the confidence I can go through. I’m very happy that the Grand Prix Final is taking place in Japan. I don’t think I have so many opportunities to skate in such a major international in Japan. I still have to do the free skating and I hope to do my best”, the 19-year old noted.
Pitkeev landed a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe, triple loop and collected a level four on all three spins in his routine to “At Voland’s Ball” by Igor Korniliuk. He scored 72.24, a personal best as well. “I was very nervous today but I am happy with today’s performance. This is my first time skating in a big competition so I was very nervous. I just kept telling myself I will do well today and my coach told me to do what I do every day at practice”, the Muscovite shared.

Chen hit a triple Axel, but fell on the back end of the triple Lutz-triple toe combination. He received 71.52 points. ”I missed one jump and that set me back a little bit, but overall I thought I did pretty well. I just wanted to hit it strong this year and just go for it, see what happens”, the 14-year-old said.

Alexander Petrov (RUS) finished fourth (70.92 points) followed by Boyang Jin (CHN) at 68.42 points and Ryuju Hino (JPN, 58.56 points).

Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin (CHN) take Junior Pairs Short Program

Xiaoyu Yu/Yang Jin of China took the Junior Pairs Short Program. Russians Lina Federova/Maxim Miroshkin and Maria Vigalova/Egor Zakroev came second and third.
Yu/Jin’s program to “Meditation” by Jules Massenet was highlighted by a double Axel, a high double twist, throw triple toeloop and level-four toe Lasso. The 2012 World Junior silver medalists scored 61.10 points. “It was quite good, but tomorrow’s free skating is even more important. Hopefully we’ll be able to show our level”, Yang commented. “We would be happy if we just skate our best tomorrow. The result is important, but to us it is more important to have done our best and to be satisfied with our performance”, he added. Performing to “Clowns” by Alfred Schnittke, Federova/Miroshkin produced a level-four double twist, double Axel and throw triple toe, but their death spiral merited only a level two. The defending ISU Junior Grand Prix Final Champions picked up 58.58 points, a new seasons best score. “We had small mistakes but it wasn’t that bad. Our coach said, keep it calm and smooth. It wasn’t easy. Each competition is different. We will keep gaining experience”, Miroshkin noted. Vigalova/Zakroev landed the double twist, double Axel and throw triple toe as well in their program to “Capone” by Ronan Hardiman to earn 55.07 points. “Overall it was good, not a 100 percent. We could do better and some elements didn’t get the level we wanted. We worked on some things, especially the components and we improved in this aspect”, Zakroev said.
Three more Russian teams are ranked fourth to sixth: Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (54.91 points), Vasilisa Davankova/Andrei Deputat (54.82 points) and Kamilla Gainetdinova/Ivan Bich (48.40 points).

Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) wins Men’s Short Program, sets record score

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan earned a strong lead in the Men’s Short Program, setting a new record score of 99.84 points on the way. Canada’s Patrick Chan came second, followed by Nobunari Oda of Japan.
Hanyu’s routine to “Parisian Walkways” featured a quadruple toeloop, a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toe. Two spins and the footwork merited a level four. “First of all, I am totally surprised about the score I got. For my performance, I think I did a good performance starting with the quad and also my Axel and Lutz were good as well. However, for the steps and spins, towards the end of my performance I think I lacked a little bit of concentration so that is the part I regret. Today what I felt is that I wanted to put all my effort into my jumps, spins and steps. I was able to enjoy my performance today”, the 18-year-old told the press. Skating to an Elegy by Sergei Rachmaninov, Chan nailed the quad-triple toe combination but stumbled badly on his triple Axel and then did just a double Lutz. He scored 87.47 points. “I am not super happy with how I skated. When you achieve close to perfection, like I did in Paris, to do it again is hard. It hurts even more when you don’t do it so I am upset. Tomorrow is a new day, where the long program is where it’s won, so we will see”, the three-time and reigning World Champion said. Oda fell on his opening quad toe but recovered to land a triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe. He earned 80.94 points. “I was nervous and I fell on my first jump (quad toe) and after that I felt like I woke up. I wanted to skate well in front of the Japanese audience and the more I thought of that, it made me nervous. I cannot take back what I fell on, so I hope to land it in my free skate”, Oda explained.
Han Yan (CHN) is ranked fourth at 77.75 points. Maxim Kovtun (RUS) finished fifth (68.92) and Tatsuki Machida (JPN) is currently standing in sixth place (65.66 points).

Mao Asada (JPN) claims Ladies Short Program

Mao Asada of Japan claimed the Ladies Short Program. Adelina Sotnikova of Russia finished second and Ashley Wagner (USA) came third.
Asada’s program to a Nocturne by Chopin included a triple flip, triple loop-double loop combination and two level-four spins, but her triple Axel was underrotated. The two-time World Champion picked up 72.36 points. “I was very happy about the triple Axel. This was the first time I was able to land it that well this season. During practice I landed about 50 to 70 percent, but in the competition I just focused on landing one and I think that really went well. Because I have one day off, I will focus on resting tomorrow and I plan to do two triple Axels in the long program”, the reigning World bronze medalist said. Skating to “Habanera”, Sotnikova produced a triple toe-triple toe combination, a triple flip, double Axel and level four spins and footwork to post a new personal best score of 68.38 points. “I am very happy with how I skated. It was the best I’ve skated this season so far. We have very strong girls, four strong girls are here, they are all very strong and they all can do triple-triples. They all potentially could be in the top three. At the moment I am higher than they are and I try not to relax, to skate as well as in the long program to stay in that place among the Russians”, the European silver medalist noted. Wagner completed a triple flip-triple toe, a triple loop and three level-four spins in her routine set to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd. The U.S. Champion earned 68.14 points. “My goal this season was to land the triple-triple which I achieved. The whole point of this program is to be strong and sexy but feminine. Women skaters need to feel more comfortable being strong. I’m trying to portray that with that program and it’s fun for me to skate”, Wagner stated.
Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS) came fourth at 66.62 points followed by teammates Elena Radionova (64.38 points) and Anna Pogorilaya (59.81 points).

The full results please refer to Entries/Results. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final continue Friday with the Junior Ladies, Junior Men, Junior Pairs & Men Free Skating, Pairs Short Program and Short Dance.