The Cup of China opened Friday in Shanghai with the Short Dance, Ladies, Pairs and Men's Short Programs. The Cup of China is the third of six events in the 2011/2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series.
Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) win Short Dance
Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev danced to the lead in the Short Dance followed by Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) and Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland of Great Britain.
Bobrova/Soloviev put out a lively Latin dance set to Samba and Rhuma that was higlighted by a solid Rhumba pattern and difficult twizzles. The 2011 European silver medallists picked up 65.73 points. It wasn't our best performance as we had some upsetting little mistakes for example right before the step sequence, Soloviev said referring to a little wobble. Emotionally it felt good and overall we are quite pleased, he continued.
Performing to Samba, Shibutani/Shibutani produced fast twizzles and their Rhumba sequences garnered a level three, but their rotational lift was graded a level one. The World bronze medallists scored 57.79 points. We are very pleased with our performance today. It was a good start for us. We are really happy with that performance level. We feel we've improved on that since Finlandia (Trophy). We didn't get a couple of our levels, we had a level one on our lift, but we know we can improve, Maia Shibutani noted.
Coomes/Buckland's dance to Rhumba and Cha Cha included a whirling rotational lift and a level-three side by side step footwork. The British couple earned 53.89 points. We are very pleased with our performance today. We set out to have some fun actually and we achieved that today. Obviously there are things we can improve on. We can take positive feelings from this performance and we look forward to the Free Dance tomorrow which we love to do, Buckland commented.
Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones (FRA) came fourth at 52.41 points and Xiaoyang Yu/Chen Wang (CHN) are currently ranked fifth with 48.36 points.
Carolina Kostner (ITA) leads Ladies after Short Program
Carolina Kostner of Italy edged out Mirai Nagasu (USA) for first place by less than one point in the Ladies Short Program. Russia's Adelina Sotnikova finished third.
Kostner nailed her opening triple toe-triple toe combination in her performance to Allegretto from Trio No. 3 by Dmitri Shostakovich but stumbled on the triple loop. The three-time European Champion recovered with strong spins and a double Axel to score 61.88 points, a new seasons best. I am not completely satisfied with what I did today. At Skate America I got really low levels on the spins, so I was concentrating a lot on the spins this week. I probaly was more focused on the spins today than on the jumps and I made a mistake on the loop, Kostner explained.
Nagasu's Tango program included a triple loop, triple Lutz-double toe combination and three level-four spins. The American earned 60.96 points which was a new seasons best as well. Since I just competed last week I was determined coming into this competition, but there were a couple of setbacks this morning with my boots. I am glad that everything got fixed and I skated the best I could for where I am at right now. My only wish is I'd skated that last week at Skate Canada, Nagasu commented.
Sotnikova fell on her triple Lutz but added a double toe to the triple flip for a combination. The World Junior Champion collected 53.74 points. I am not pleased because I didn't do the big triple- triple combination I had planned, but I did another combination. Hopefully I'll be able to show everything I can tomorrow, the 15-year-old commented.
Kanako Murakami (JPN) finished fourth with 53.09 points and Kexin Zhang (CHN) sits in fifth at 52.85 points.
Artur Gachinski (RUS) captures Men's Short Program
Artur Gachinski of Russia skated to a narrow lead over Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu in the Men's Short Program. Jeremy Abbott (USA) followed in third place.
Skating to St. Louis Blues, Gachinski hit a quad-triple toe combination followed by a triple Axel and loop. The World bronze medallist received 81.64 points. It was quite a good performance today as I landed all my jumps, I had positive emotions and I did almost everything in my spins. I am very happy that it was a successful day for me, the 18-year-old Russian said.
Hanyu landed a quad toe, a triple Axel and triple Lutz-triple toe combination in his routine set to Alexander Skriabin's Etude Patetico to score 81.64 points. I did a quad today, that was good, but I had planned a quad-triple toeloop in my program and I couldn't do it and I regret this a little, the 2010 World Junior Champion said.
Abbott's performance to the Swing Kids soundtrack featured a triple flip-triple toe, a triple Axel and triple Lutz. The two-time U.S. Champion picked up 79.32 points. Today I gave a shaky performance but I was happy to be on my feet. It's a fun program. It's great to finally start the season and have somwhere to go up from, Abbott told the press.
Nobunari Oda (JPN) placed fourth (77.65 points) ahead of Nan Song (CHN) who got 72.72 points.
Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) take Pairs Short Program
Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov of Russia won the Pairs Short Program with Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch of Canada and China's Dan Zhang/Hao Zhang finishing second and third.
Kavaguti/Smirnov delivered a strong performance to the Blues All Alone, completing a side by side triple toeloop, a triple twist, throw triple loop and difficult lift en route to first place at 64.45 points. We are satisfied with today's performance. This is our very first competition this season. We decided to compete in three Grand Prix this year as we didn't get to skate so much last year, Kavaguti pointed out.
Moore-Towers/Moscovitch were solid as well. Their routine to Borsalino featured a triple twist, triple toe and level-four footwork. The Canadians scored 60.78 points. We feel good about today's performance. We went out, we did everything we needed to do. It wasn't our best short program that we've done. It wasn't as easy and smooth as we would have liked, but we worked through it and we got everything done and we're happy with the outcome, Moscovitch said.
Zhang/Zhang opened their program to A Transylvanian Lullaby with a big throw triple loop and triple twist, but she doubled the side by side Salchow. The 2006 Olympic silver medallists earned 60.57 points. We are not so pleased as I made a mistake, but the other aspects of the program were quite good. We hope to do better tomorrow, Dan Zhang noted.
Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) came fourth with 60.00 points after she fell on the triple toe. Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig (USA) are currently ranked fifth with 57.88 points.
The Cup of China continues Saturday with the Ladies, Pairs, Men's Free Skating, Free Dance. For full results please see www.isu.org