Alina Zagitova of Russia took the lead in the Ladies Short Program as the ISU European Figure Skating Championships opened Wednesday in Minsk (BLR). Teammate Sofia Samodurova sits in second and Switzerland’s Alexia Paganini follows in third.
Alina Zagitova (RUS) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Zagitova opened her performance to “The Phantom of the Opera” with a triple Lutz-triple loop combination, but underrotated the loop. The Olympic Champion went on to produce a double Axel, triple flip and level-four spins and footwork to score 75.00 points. “I was very focused and I held back my emotions and I will do that until the free skating. There were a few small errors. I need to be confident in myself,” the European Champion noted. “I’m like – if something doesn’t go so well, I’ll start the new year fresh and I leave everything that was bad behind in the old year. That’s what I did. I only take the good things with me,” she went on referring to finishing fifth at Russian Nationals last month.
Sofia Samodurova (RUS) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Samodurova’s routine to the Flamenco “Nyah” featured a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, triple loop, double Axel as well as difficult spins and steps. The ISU Grand Prix Finalist set a new personal best with 72.88 points. “Today I showed everything I’ve been working for in my training. It is a little unexpected for me to come third in the short program in my debut at Europeans,” the 16-year-old said. “I never think about placements, so I’ll just remain focused on myself for the free skating,” she added.
Alexia Paganini (SUI)at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Skating to “Yo Soy Maria” by Astor Piazzolla, Paganini completed a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, triple loop and double Axel, but lost a few points on her combination spin. The Swiss Champion posted a new personal best with 65.64 points. “There’s definitely little things, like in the transitions and spins. I know they could have been faster,” Paganini said. “I’ll propably try to distract myself for a little bit tomorrow, because I think if I stay focused all the time I might be a little tired mentally by the time the long comes around,” the 17-year-old continued.
Viveca Lindfors (FIN) is just 0.03 points behind in fourth place on 65.61 points with a solid performance, but she wobbled on the triple flip. Nicole Rajicova (SVK) is currently ranked fifth on 64.08 points while Laurine Lecavelier (FRA) came sixth on 63.29 points.