Rostelecom Cup opened in Moscow, Russia, on Friday with the Ladies, Pairs and Men’s Short Program and the Short Dance. Rostelecom Cup is the fourth of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating. The world's top figure skaters are competing for a prize money of US $ 180,000 per individual event of the Grand Prix and for points towards the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Barcelona (ESP) in December.
Alaine Chartrand (CAN) captures Ladies Short Program
Canada’s Alaine Chartrand captured the Ladies Short Program. Rika Hongo of Japan and Russia’s Anna Pogorilaya follow in second and third place.
Chartrand’s program to “La Leyenda del Beso” by Raul di Blasio featured a double Axel, triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, triple loop and two level-four spins. The Canadian scored 61.18 points, a new seasons best. “I went out and I tried my best and I’m happy with what I did. Mostly after Skate Canada where I was 7th after the short program and overall, I was looking to improve on that. I really just wanted to have big jumps and clean jumps. I just tried to be relaxed as much as possible to improve on what I did at Skate Canada”, the 18-year-old said.
Skating to “Le Corsaire”, Hongo landed a triple toe-triple to combination, a triple flip and double Axel to earn 59.85 points. “I think I did everything I can today, so I’m very satisfied with my performance. Today tried to do better than at Skate Canada and I worked on that with my coach”, the Japanese skater commented.
Pogorilaya produced a triple Lutz, triple loop-double toeloop combination, double Axel and excellent level-four spins in her routine to “Adagio” by Il Divo. However, the Lutz and the loop combination were shaky. The Skate Canada Champion picked up 59.32 points. “I am not satisfied at all with me elements today, but it was a big experience for me to skate at home. It felt easy, and in spite of my errors the audience enjoyed my performance“, the 16-year-old explained.
Mirai Nagasu (USA) finished fourth at 58.90 points, Ashley Cain (USA) sits in fifth (57.18 points) and Maria Stavitskaia (RUS) came sixth (54.78 points).
Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov take Pairs Short Program
Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov led a Russian sweep in the Pairs Short Program. Evgenia Tarasova/ Vladimir Morozov and Kristina Astakhova/Alexei Rogonov are currently ranked second and third.
Stolbova/Klimov’s program to “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and “House of Flying Daggers” was highlighted by a triple twist, side by side triple toes and a throw triple flip. The Olympic silver medalists collected a level four for the side by side spin and the footwork, but the lift was graded a level one. They earned 69.09 points. “It was a decent performance, the first half was good, but there were mistakes in the second half. There are things to work on and we will improve them. The overall impression of the program was positive and we are satisfied with that”, Klimov said.
Performing to “Sarabande Suite” by Globus, Tarasova/Morozov completed a high triple twist, throw triple loop and a set of triple toes. The Skate Canada bronze medalists scored 67.28 points, a new personal best score. “It helped us to skate at home and we enjoyed the support of the audience. We got a lot of positive emotions from that. We are trying to skate our short program consistently and with each competition we are getting a better score”, Morozov noted.
Astakhova/Rogonov delivered a solid short program to “Be Italian” as well, landing side by side triple Salchows and a throw triple flip. The newly formed team was awarded 58.34 points. “It is positive for all athletes that we can use music with lyrics, there is more choice. We are a new team and we decided to experiment”, Rogonov told the press.
Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) placed fourth (54.06 points) followed by Jessica Calalang/Zack Sidhu (USA) with 50.87 points.
Javier Fernandez (ESP) wins Men’s Short Program
Javier Fernandez of Spain won the Men’s Short Program. Russia’s Sergei Voronov came in second, ahead of Takahiko Kozuka of Japan.
Fernandez’ dynamic program to “Black Betty” featured a quadruple Salchow, triple Lutz-triple toe, two level-four spins and level-four footwork. However, the European Champion had to fight for the landing of the triple Axel. Fernandez picked up 93.92 points, a seasons best. “It was a good program and I did enjoy it a lot. I did have a couple of mistakes, it was not the perfect program and I can do it better. But it was better than at Skate Canada. I think I can do a better program tomorrow, try to complete my competition with a good skate and hope to qualify for GPF in Barcelona”, the World bronze medalist said.
Performing to “Danse Macabre”, Voronov nailed a quad-triple toe combination and followed up with a triple Axel and triple loop. All three spins merited a level four. The European silver medalist earned a new personal best of 90.33 points. “I am pleased with my performance, especially because the puzzle pieces fell into place. The jumps worked and I enjoyed it myself. Hopefully it won’t be worse tomorrow and I even can add something in some components”, the 27-year-old commented.
Kozuka landed a triple Axel and difficult spins, but he two-footed his quadruple toeloop and underrotated his triple Lutz-triple toe combination. The 2011 World silver medalist picked up a seasons best with 81.38 points. “I feel much better than at Skate Canada. My heart comes back to competition. Now I’m fighting in competition, I’m going to fight tomorrow in the free skating”, Kozuka told the post-event press conference.
Michal Brezina (CZE) is not far behind in fourth place at 80.89 points. Misha Ge (UZB) is currently ranked fifth with 79.69 points and Max Aaron (USA) sits in sixth (77.09 points).
Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) lead after Short Dance
Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) lead after the Short Dance. Elena Ilinykh/Ruslan Zhiganshin of Russia finished second and Great Britain’s Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland are standing in third place.
Chock/Bates’ dance to “Don Quixote” included a level-four lift and twizzles, while the Paso Doble pattern was graded a level two and three and the side by side step sequence garnered a level three. The Skate America Champions picked up 68.86 points, just below their personal best. “Each competition that you do during the season gets more comfortable. The more you compete, the better the programs feel. We definitely felt that tonight. We love our programs and they are becoming a part of us now that we’ve trained them so much. Every time we go out we want to perform them even better and I think we did that tonight”, Chock explained.
Performing to “Carmen”, Ilinykh/Zhiganshin picked up a level four for the twizzles, alevel three for the side by side footwork and the partial step sequence. The new team set a new personal best with 64.12 points for themselves. “We felt good today. We just came back from China, we only had one and a half days of training and we didn’t have time to relax after this competition”, Zhiganshin commented.
Coomes/Buckland danced Flamenco and Paso Doble to “Poeta en el mar”. Their parallel steps and the second Paso Doble part were graded a level three, but the twizzles were only a level one. The European bronze medalists scored 59.55 points. “Nick and I always like to compete, before we do a Grand Prix, because you never know how your programs are going to feel until you put them under that competition pressure and stress. I messed up my twizzles today, so I’m a bit frustrated, but apart from that I think we did a good job”, Coomes said.
Victoria Sinitsina/Nikita Katsalapov (RUS) finished fourth with 57.96 points and their teammates Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin were fifth with 56.90 points.
Rostelecom Cup continues Saturday with the Ladies, Pairs, Men’s Free Skating and Free Dance. For full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2014/15 please refer to www.isu.org/en/single-and-pair-skating-and-ice-dance/series/isu-grand-prix-of-figure-skating.