Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin danced to their second Grand Prix gold medal and straight into their first ISU Grand Prix Final with a sublime display at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow Saturday. Sara Hurtado/Kirill Khaliavin of Spain leapfrogged Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) to take the silver and the first Ice Dance Grand Prix medal for their country.
Stepanova/Bukin gave a passionate performance to “Am I the One” by Beth Hart, collecting a level four for the lifts and the spin while the diagonal step sequence merited a level three. The European bronze medalists posted a season’s best score of 124.94 points and totaled 199.43 points.
“We are very happy to come back after yesterday. We haven’t made a mistake in a long time and it was a good lesson for us. We make the Grand Prix Final for the first time at the senior level and two first places in the Grand Prix series are a great success for us at this time,” Stepanova said.
Sara Hurtado/Kirill Khaliavin (SPA) set a season’s best with 108.02 points 2018 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Dancing to “Great Gig in the Sky”, “Vladimir’s Blues” and “Sign of the Times”, Hurtado/Khaliavin earned a level four for two lifts, the twizzles and their spin and a level three for the serpentine step sequence and their straight line lift. The Spaniards set a season’s best with 108.02 points, which added up to 174.42 points overall.
“Today we skated much better than yesterday. We’ve worked on our mistakes and we improved. There were still some minor mistakes, but overall we did well,” Khaliavin said.
His partner Hurtado added: “A medal on the Grand Prix has been a goal and I dreamed of it when I saw Javier (Fernandez, ESP) getting on the podium. It proves to skaters in Spain that you can be here when you work hard.”
Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko (USA) dropped from second to third place 2018© International Skating Union (ISU)
Carreira/Ponomarenko’s solid performance to “Bloodstream” and “Angel” by Tokio Myers included three level four lifts, but the two step sequences were rated a level two. The 2018 World Junior silver medalists scored 105.20 points and slipped from second to third on 174.21 points.
“We are pretty happy with how it went today. We didn’t get all our levels, but for our first senior year we’re happy to come third in our second Grand Prix,” Carreira said.
Sofia Evdokimova/Egor Bazin (RUS) moved up from sixth to fourth place with a smooth performance to “Nocturne” and “Sarabande” on 164.66 points. Natalia Kaliszek/Maksym Spodyriev (POL) finished fifth on 161.62 points followed by Allison Reed/Saulius Ambruvelicius (LTU) in sixth place (158.03 points).
Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) reached their first ISU Grand Prix Final 2018 © International Skating Union (ISU)