Courtesy of www.isu.org

Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov (RUS) strike gold
Yuko Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov of Russia struck gold and Canada’s Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford claimed the silver medal. Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek of Italy captured the bronze medal.

Kavaguti/Smirnov produced a triple twist, throw triple Salchow and loop as well as difficult lifts in their routine to “February,” but they struggled with the solo jumps. The couple scored 119.83 points and totaled 187.99 points overall to hold on to first place. “We are happy with our performance and got the ticket to the Grand Prix Final. That was the most important”, Kavaguti commented.

Skating to the soundtrack “Angel”, Duhamel/Radford reeled off a triple twist, side by side triple Lutz, triple Salchow-double toe-double toe combination and a throw triple Lutz as well as four level-four elements. They scored 124.43 points and accumulated 186.71 points to win their second silver medal on the Grand Prix circuit this year. “We are very happy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final and compete in Sochi. That was our goal this year. We planned to skate better in the short program and free program, but for the moment we’re proud to go to the Grand Prix Final and we’ll fight for a better place at that competition”, Duhamel commented.

Berton/Hotarek’s Flamenco routine included a triple toe-double toe-doule toe combination, a triple twist, a throw triple loop and Salchow as well as two level-four lifts. The Italian Champions earned 112.19 points and with a total of 169.49 points moved up from fourth place. “Today it was a surprise for us. Everything was pretty close (for third place). We did the maximum in our free program. We skated well in both programs and we are happy with our place”, Hotarek told the press.

Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) slipped from third to fourth at 167.76 points. Ksenia Stolbova/fedor Klimov (RUS) remained in fifth place with 166.73 points.

Takahito Mura (JPN) skates off with gold
Takahito Mura of Japan skated off with the gold medal. Overnight leader Jeremy Abbott (USA) settled for the silver and France’s Florent Amodio rose from seventh to claim the bronze.

Mura opened his program to “Shogun” with a quadruple toe and followed up with a triple Lutz-triple toe and a triple Axel. He landed four ore triples including another Axel. His spins were graded a level one, two and three. The Japanese earned 154.03 points, a seasons best, and moved up from second to win his first Grand Prix medal at 230.68 points. “Thinking of last year and the year before I couldn’t even imagine to win. I am very surprised”, Mura said. “This victory gives me the possibility to get closer to the top. The judges looked at me like at a skater with a certain level, but now they look at me as the winner of the Grand Prix”, he added.

Abbott’s performance to „Bring Him Home“ by Steven Jamail featured six triples including an Axel, but his quad toe was downgraded and he singled the second Axel. The combination spin merited a level four. The U.S. Champion posted a new seasons best with 146.45 points but dropped to second at 227.63 points overall. „I got through it (the program) very well. It was not my best, but I felt good at the end of the program, I had legs, my back didn’t hurt. I had a couple of big mistakes and some issues with spin levels and that cost me the first place“, Abbott noted.

Amodio hit a quad Salchow and seven triples including two Axels and a triple Salchow-triple toe combination towards the end of his program to “Jumpin’ Jack” and “Broken Sorrow”. The 2012 European Champion won the Free Skating with 154.12 points and racked up 214.25 points overall. “It was very hard yesterday. I was ready to do a good short program but I missed it. My goal for today was to fight like I do in practice. I am proud of myself and of the job I did”, the Frenchman commented.

Brian Joubert (FRA) dropped from third to fourth with 210.16 points. Nan Song (CHN) finished fifth (205.48 points) and his teammate Jinlin Guan placed sixth at 191.99 points.

Jorik Hendrickx (BEL) withdrew before the Free Skating as he had injured his right ankle in the warm up for the morning practice.

Ashley Wagner (USA) claims gold
Ashley Wagner (USA) claimed gold. Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Julia Lipnitskaia followed in second and third.

Performing to “Samson and Delilah”, Wagner landed six triple jumps and picked up a level three fro two spins and the step sequence. The U.S. Champion scored 127.54 points which added up to 190.63 points overall. “Today was a big accomplishment for me, because I went out there and I’ve been feeling sick today. To be able to accomplish that program being not at a 100 percent was a great for me mentally to show myself I don’t have to be always at the top of my game to perform like that”, the 21-year-old shared. She added that she feels a head cold.

Tuktamysheva pulled off a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, a double Axel-triple toe and three more triples to score a seasons best of 121.36 points. The 15-year-old totaled 179.62 points to move up one spot. “At the end of my program I was overwhelmed with emotions. I was so happy to have landed all my elements, there was only the double Axel left and I landed it as well. This was a big victory over myself. I really wanted it, but I didn’t expect it”, the Youth Olympic Champion told the press.

Overnight leader Lipnitskaia opened with a triple Lutz-triple toe and went on to complete a double Axel-triple toe-double toe, but some other jumps were shaky and she doubled the Salchow. The 14-year-old picked up a level four for all three spins and earned 115.76 points. At 179.31 overall, she slipped to third. “It wasn’t my best performance today. Hopefully I’ll be able to skate clean free program next time, right now it is not happening for me”, Lipnitskaia said.

Wagner qualified for the Grand Prix Final with the maximum of 30 points and Lipnitskaia has a good chance as well while Tuktamysheva needs to wait and see what happens next week.

Christina Gao (USA) finished fourth with 164.71 points ahead of Mae-Berenice Meite (FRA) with 157.58 points and Polina Korobeynikova (RUS) at 144.82 points.

Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat (FRA) dance to victory
Nathalie Pechalat/Fabian Bourzat of France danced to victory. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte of Italy picked up the silver medal and Ekaterina Riazanova/Ilia Tkachenko clinched the bronze.

Pechalat/Bourzat’s Rolling Stones Medley was highlighted by innovative lifts and smooth footwork. The two-time and reigning European Champions earned a level four for the lifts and combination spin while the twizzles and two step sequences merited a level three. The French couple received 100.42 points and won with 168.90 overall. “We skated a clean program and I think it was stronger than the one we did in Shanghai (at Cup of China). We changed some transitions and it was better. It was better to skate in front of the French audience, because they were clapping and supporting us”, Pechalat said.

Cappellini/Lanotte had to overcome his fall on the twizzles early on into their „Carmen“ routine, but continued without any further mistakes. The twizzles had no level, but the lifts and spin were graded a level four. The Italians scored 87.08 points and remained in second place at 153.26 points. They took their second Grand Prix silver medal this season. “Clearly not everything went as planned tonight, but I think after the big mistake at the beginning of the program we had a good reaction and everything after that was pretty smooth. I felt that without the fall it could have been a really good program. It was definitely an experience”, Cappellini explained.

Riazanova/Tkachenko’s program to “The Godfather” included four level-four elements while the footwork sequences were a level two. The Russians posted a new seasons best with 87.80 points and claimed their second bronze medal on the circuit this year with 146.03 points. “Compared to Skate Canada it was harder to skate tonight, maybe because there was a long break between practice and competition. It is very hard to wait the whole day, all the bad thoughts are coming to your had and it is difficult to manage. But we did well and we are happy with our placement today”, Tkachenko commented.

Pechalat/Bourzat and Cappellini/Lanotte advance to the Grand Prix Final. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue (USA) placed fourth at 145.23 points and Julia Zlobina/Alexei Sitnikov (AZE) finished fifth at 140.30 points.