Nagoya / Japan

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Russia’s World Junior Champion Alina Zagitova continued her impressive senior-debut season to confidently win the Ladies event in what was her debut at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) Saturday. Maria Sotskova capped off a successful event for Russia with her silver medal, moving up from fourth place after the Short Program. World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada settled for the bronze.

Skating to ‘Don Quixote’ by Leon Minkus, Zagitova nailed seven triples including her trademark triple Lutz-triple loop combination, but she wobbled on a triple toe in combination with a double Axel and also stepped out of a triple Lutz. The 15-year-old earned level fours for her spins and footwork to score 147.03 points and moved up from second place to the top on 223.30 points. “I am pleased with my performance. There were a few glitches, but they were minor. I am glad I was able to deal with my nerves. To be honest, it was hard to skate today. I really wanted to do well and my legs were a bit shaky. But towards the end I pulled myself together and everything went well,” the newly minted Grand Prix Final Champion explained.

Sotskova’s routine to ‘Clair de Lune’ by Claude Debussy was highlighted by seven clean triple jumps and two level-four spins. The 2016 World Junior silver medalist achieved a new personal best with 142.28 points and accumulated 216.28 points overall.

“This is my second Grand Prix Final, last year I was in fifth place. So this year going up to second place and being able to go on the podium was a great experience for me,” the skater from Moscow said. “It was a good performance. But you always have something to work on and something to achieve. We did a great job with my team and now we have result.”

Overnight leader Osmond produced five triples as well as difficult spins and steps in her ‘Black Swan’ routine. However, the Canadian Champion fell on an underrotated triple Salchow and doubled the loop. These errors cost her, she was fifth in the Free Skating on 138.12 points and slipped from first to third overall on 215.16 points. “I made a lot of changes between France and this competition and I think I did really well on those changes. I focused a lot on my choreography and improving the package in the story line of the program. There are things I am really proud of, some silly mistakes for me, but overall I am happy with the performance. It is getting better each time so hopefully I will peak at the right time,” the World silver medalist pointed out.

2012 World Champion Carolina Kostner (ITA), who had returned to the Grand Prix Final for the first time in four years as she did not compete in the series, moved up from sixth to fourth place on 214.65 points. 2015 World silver medalist Satoko Miyahara of Japan underrotated three jumps to drop from third to fifth (213.49 points). Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) came sixth (202.11 points). 

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