The competition at the Cup of China concluded Saturday in Shanghai with the Free Dance, Ladies, Men's and Pairs Free Skating. The Cup of China was the third of six events in the 2012/2013 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating.
Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) dance to gold
Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat of France danced to the gold medal. Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev claimed the silver and the bronze went to Kaitlyn Weaver/ Andrew Poje of Canada.
Pechalat/Bourzat delivered a strong performance to a Rolling Stones Medley and picked up a lavel four for six out of eight elements. The European Champions scored 100.58 points and totaled 169.73 points. China is a lucky place for us. We won the Cup of China three years ago and now again. It is a great start to the season for us and we are pretty pleased with what we did. We still can improve on this, for example be more relaxed when we go out on the ice, Bourzat told the press.
Dancing to Man with a Harmonica and Tosca, Bobrova/Soloviev earned a level four for the lifts, twizzles and spin while the footwork was a level two. The Russian Champions received 95.14 points and pulled up from third to second at 159.46 points. Since Skate America we changed only a few things as there was not much time, but we are pleased with the work that we have done, Soloviev commented. We were a little tense tonight, he continued, I think that emotionally and technically we skated better at Skate America.
Weaver/Poje's program to Humanity in Motion featured level-four lifts and twizzles, but the spin and the diagonal were rated a level two. The Canadians scored 93.38 points for the Free Dance and slipped from second to third at 158.97 points overall. Andrew and I are very proud of the performance that we gave today. It was much improved from Skate America, obviously given the the short time we didn't have a lot of time to change things, but we fixed a few levels. We still didn't get a (higher) level for the spin which is frustrating, Weaver noted.
Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) remained in fourth place at 149.54 points and Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) placed fifth (137.58 points).
Mao Asada (JPN) strikes gold
Mao Asada of Japan struck gold in the Ladies event while Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia took the silver. Kiira Korpi of Finland claimed the bronze.
Asada completed two triple loops and a triple Salchow as well as three level-four spins in her routine set to Swan Lake. However, some other jumps were underrotated. The two-time World Champion won the Free Skating with 118.87 points and moved up to first at181.78 points. Today I skated like in practice, but I was not at a 100 percent yet. I was very happy to skate here and to win, the Olympic silver medalist said.
Skating to Nutcracker, Lipnitskaia produced four clean triples and beautiful spins, but almost fell on her double Axel-triple toe. The 14-year-old collected114.86 points which added up to 177.92 overall. I am very happy to finish in second place in my first senior Grand Prix, because I now have the chance to qualify for the Final, the World Junior Champion said. Somehow I wasn't able to pull myself together today, I probably was too nervous, she added.
Korpi's program to Once Upon a Time in America included a triple toe-triple toe combination and two more good triples but she popped a loop and a flip. The European silver medalist scored 110.17 points for her Free Skating to move up one spot with 169.86 points. It feels really good (to be on the podium). My performance wasn't the best in the short program and I also had mistakes in the Free Skating, but overall I am quite happy to go out there and perform quite well after a hard season and all my injuries, the Finnish Champion told the press.
Mirai Nagasu (USA) dropped from third to fourth at 163.46 points. Zijun Li (CHN) came fifth (160.06) and Amelie Lacoste (CAN) was sixth (135.45 points). Bingwa Geng (CHN) withdrew due to injury (sprained ankle) before the Free Skating.
Tatsuki Machida (JPN) takes gold
The Japanese men took gold and silver with Tatsuki Machida and Daisuke Takahashi. Sergei Voronov of Russia collected the bronze medal.
Performing to Firebird by Igor Stravinski, Machida nailed a triple Axel, a triple Lutz-triple toe as well as four more triples, but he fell on his quad toe. Two spins garnered a level four. The Japanese was awarded 153.44 points and overtook overnight leader Takahashi with a total of 236.92 points. I am very happy to have won the gold medal, but I have to improve much more, Machida commented. I am surprised that I have a chance to make the Grand Prix Final. There is one month left before Sochi and I hope to improve until then, he continued. With his bronze from Skate America and the gold from China Machida now tops the Grand Prix standings.
Takahashi went for two quads in his routine to I Pagliacchi but both were not clean and underrotated. The World silver medalist landed four clean triples and picked up a level four his footwork and spins to score 146.96 points. He slipped to second at 231.75 points. That was really bad for me. I need to practice more, the 26-year-old stated. There is not so much time left before NHK Trophy and I had a lot of problems here because I didn't practice so well. Hopefully I can do better next time, he added.
Voronov opened his program to Romeo and Juliet with a somewhat shaky quad toe and followed up with six triple jumps and level-three spins and steps. He earned 144.03 points and accumulaetd 217.61 points overall. In my program most of my elements worked. I didn't do everything as planned. I took out the second quad toe, the two-time Russian Champion said.
Adam Rippon (USA) came fourth with 205.48 points and Kevin Reynolds (CAN) finished fifth at 202.07 points. Nan Song (CHN) had to withdraw during the warm up after he hit his head and suffered a concussion when whe collided with Rippon. Brian Joubert (FRA) withdrew during the morning practice due to illness (abdominal pain and fever).
Qing Pang/Jian Tong (CHN) skate to victory
China's Qing Pang/Jian Tong skated to victory in the Pairs event. Russia's Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov and Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov took silver and bronze.
Pang/Tong's program to Edgar Elgar's Variations on an Original Theme Enigma was highlighted by a triple twist, throw triple Salchow and difficult lifts, but he singled both Axels and they went for a double toeloop instead of a triple. The two-time World Champions were awarded 120.25 points and racked up 188.82 points overall. It wasn't our best performance but we are happy to have won and to have qualified for the Grand Prix Final. This gives us confidence, Pang said.
Kavaguti/Smirnov produced a triple throw loop and Salchow as well as a level-four side by side spin their program to February by Leonid Levashkevich, but they had some issues with the triple toe-triple toe sequence with him doubling the first jump and stumbling on the second. The Russians earned 119.83 pionts and totaled 183.53 points. This was our first competition and we are satisfied with our performance. We made many small mistakes and we will go home and clean them up, Kavaguti told the press.
Stolbova/Klimov turned in solid performance to The Addams Family, completing at triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, a throw triple Salchow and a double Axel, but she fell on a throw triple Lutz. The European bronze medalists received 115.89 points and pulled up from fifth to third at 172.55 points. We are glad to win our first medal in the Grand Prix. We skated well except for the one throw jump, but I think we can skate better and show more, Klimov noted.
Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) were edged out of the podium by less than one point, dropping to fourth at 172.36 points. The new team of Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) placed fifth with 163.87 points. They performed a level-three quadruple twist.
For full results please see www.isu.org. The Cup of China concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating continues next week in Moscow with the Cup of Russia.