Moscow, Russia

#GPFigure       #FigureSkating 

GP RUS Alina Zagitova(RUS)2018©International Skating Union(ISU) 1062366068

Alina Zagitova(RUS) 2018 © YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

Russia’s Olympic Champion Alina Zagitova skated to a confident lead in the Ladies Short Program at the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow on Friday, winning the first segment of the competition with 13 points to spare. Her teammate Sofia Samodurova came second, followed by Alexia Paganini of Switzerland.

Zagitova delivered in front of an expectant home crowd. Skating to “The Phantom of the Opera”, the Olympic Champion nailed her trademark triple Lutz-triple loop combination, a double Axel, an excellent triple flip and picked up a level four for her three spins and the step sequence. At the end of her performance, a smile of relief lit up her face. The European Champion set a season’s best with 80.78 points.

“Today before the short program I only thought about my program and after the program I was a little bit happy, but tomorrow is still another day,” the 16-year-old said. “The scores or my placement are not important for me, for me it is only important to skate clean and to put my heart into it,” she added.

samod GettyImages 1062371416

Sofia Samodurova (RUS) 2018 © International Skating Union (ISU)

Samodurova’s Flamenco-themed program to “Nyah” by Hans Zimmer was highlighted by a triple flip-triple toe combination, double Axel and triple loop. The Skate America bronze medalist scored a season’s best of 67.40 points and kept herself in the running for another podium spot and possibly the Grand Prix Final.

“This is the best score I ever had and one of the biggest events I’ve competed in. Compared to Skate America, I felt more confident today and I felt that I was able to give a strong performance”, the ISU Junior Grand Prix Finalist said. 

Skating to the Tango “Yo Soy Maria”, Paganini hit a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop and double Axel to earn 63.43 points, another season’s best score.

paganini GettyImages 1062371330

Alexia Paganini (SUI) © International Skating Union (ISU)

“I am really happy with my performance, this is the best I’ve skated ever. I have been working hard on making sure all my programs are consistent and clean and on getting all my levels up. I am a little surprised to be in third, but I was working hard and I was doing clean programs in practice every day,” the Swiss Champion said.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) finished fourth after some wobbles in her Short Program (61.73 points). Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN) came fifth on 60.35 points while Eunsoo Lim (KOR) is ranked sixth (57.76 points). Skate Canada silver medalist Mako Yamashita (JPN) missed two jumps and finished ninth (51.00 points).

For full results go here. Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating.