Lipnitskaia, Machida run off with Rostelecom goldsSavchenko, Szolkowy triumph in pairs; Bobrova, Soloviev take dance
The competition concluded at the 2013 Rostelecom Cup in Moscow on Saturday with the ladies, pairs and men's free skates, followed by the free dance.
Lipnitskaia bags second Grand Prix gold
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia clinched the gold in the ladies event, edging out Carolina Kostner of Italy by less than a point. Mirai Nagasu of Team USA pulled up one spot to take the bronze medal.
Lipnitskaia produced a triple flip-double toe, double Axel-triple toe and two more triples as well as her trademark spins in her program to Schindler's List, but she fell on her opening triple Lutz. With 118.56 points, she was ranked second in the free skate but remained in first place overall with 190.80 points.
"I am happy to qualify for the Grand Prix Final with two first places, but I am not satisfied with my free skating," Lipnitskaia said. "That was one of my worst performances ever. I will have to change something in my preparation and try not to repeat something like this. I was very nervous, and when the first jump didn't work, I wasn't able to pull myself together."
Kostner's routine to "Scheherazade" by Nikoli Rimsky-Korsakov featured four triple jumps and three Level 4 spins, but she stepped out of the triple loop and touched down on the triple Salchow. The five-time and reigning European champion scored 122.38 points, a season's best, and accumulated 190.12 points.
"I am very pleased with how I skated," Kostner said. "I had a few mistakes; that is how it goes building up to an important event. I am happy to see that I'm moving forward. I really enjoyed skating here.
"The Russian audience is amazing. I felt very welcomed," she added.
Skating to a James Bond medley, Nagasu landed five triples and two double Axels to earn 114.93 points. She totaled 175.37 points for the event.
"I am really [happy] with the way I skated today. It's a huge improvement from my last competition at NHK," Nagasu said. "I wish that I could have put two together and make it to the Final, but unfortunately, that isn't the case. I'd like to take it as a blessing in disguise because I have more time to train for nationals and focus on making the Olympic team there."
Elizaveta Tuktamisheva of Russia remained in fourth place (171.87 points), and Satoko Miyahara of Japan finished fifth (165.76 points).
American Agnes Zawadzki dropped from third to sixth with 163.21 total points.
Lipnitskaia qualified with two victories and the maximum of 30 points for the Grand Prix Final. Kostner is a second alternate with a silver and bronze medal.
Savchenko, Szolkowy skate to pairs victory
Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany skated to the gold medal in the pairs event. Russia's Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov took silver, and the bronze went to Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch.
Savchenko and Szolkowy's program to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker was highlighted by a throw triple flip, triple twist and difficult lifts and spins, but Szolkowy doubled both toe loops while Savchenko singled the Axel. The four-time world champions earned a Level 4 for four elements and scored a season's best of 133.08 points, totaling 206.33 points.
"Today's performance was a little better than the long program in our first Grand Prix, Cup of China," Szolkowy said. "That was our goal for this competition: to improve on some elements."
"I gave it my best today," Savchenko said. "I felt sore (from the fall in the short program), but I told myself, 'I'll fight through it.'"
Bazarova and Larionov turned in a solid performance of their program to "Polovtsian Dances," completing a triple twist, throw triple loop, side-by-side triple toes and three Level 4 elements. The Russians earned 131.89 points, a season's best, which added up to 201.61 points overall.
"Concerning today, we are most of all happy that we were able to deal with our nerves and could put away all the thoughts we had after the unsuccessful short program," Larionov said. "It was good that we worked together at the right time, and with all the problems we had, we tried to show everything and it's good that we did."
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch produced a triple toe-triple toe sequence, a throw triple loop and Salchow, but she fell on the exit of their toe lasso lift. The Canadians picked up 123.08 points and remained in third place with 188.73 overall.
"Our skate today definitely wasn't an improvement on our first Grand Prix, Skate America," Moore-Towers said. "We had a couple of weird things happen, but for the most part we were strong from the beginning to the end. Our skating skills are improving every time out. We are excited to have made the Final, where we will have better performances."
Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia pulled up to fourth place with 188.10 points.
Julia Antipova and Nodari Maisuradze, also of Russia, finished fifth with 181.50 points. They performed a quadruple twist.
Savchenko and Szolkowy are headed to the Grand Prix Final with two victories under their belt. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch made it with a silver and a bronze medal.
Machida rallies from behind to triumph
Tatsuki Machida of Japan claimed victory in the men's event, as Russia's Maxim Kovtun slipped down to second to take the silver medal. Spain's Javier Fernández earned the bronze.
Performing to "Firebird," Machida nailed a quad toe-double toe combination, a triple Axel-triple toe and four more triple jumps. Two spins and the step sequence merited a Level 4, and the Skate America champion picked up 172.10 points. He racked up 257.00 points overall and jumped ahead of overnight leader Kovtun to win his second Grand Prix gold medal this season.
"I am so happy to have got first place and a spot in the Final," Machida said. "There is not much time before the Grand Prix Final, so I have to start working soon. I am still not in a good condition, and today I showed only about 40 to 50 percent of what I wanted to show. I landed the jumps, but it cost too much energy."
Kovtun hit a quad toe, triple Axel and triple Salchow-double toe loop in his program to Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 1," but he fell on his quad Salchow and singled a Lutz and made some other errors. The 18-year-old wound up fourth in the free skate with 147.81 points and dropped to second with 240.34 points.
"I am absolutely not pleased with my performance," Kovtun said. "It is a shame because I put in so much work when I look back. The coaches are upset and don't know what the problem was. Maybe it started with the first mistake when I fell. I felt exhausted, and I didn't have any speed going into the second quad. I need more stamina in order to skate with more confidence."
Fernández struggled with several jumps as well in his routine to the Peter Gunn soundtrack when he almost crashed into the boards on his quad toe and stumbled on the first quad Salchow. He scored 145.12 points and totaled 226.99 points.
"Today, it was another hard day for me," Fernández said. "I guess I'm saving it for the next competition. My goal was to go to the Final; it's not going to happen now, because I didn't skate well here.
"I'm going to take something positive out of it," he continued. "I got extra weeks to train and to focus on what I have to improve."
Konstantin Menshov of Russia placed fourth with 223.03 points, and American Richard Dornbush moved up from seventh to fifth with 215.45 points.
Machida (30 points) and Kovtun (26 points) qualified for the Grand Prix Final.
Bobrova, Soloviev prevail in dance
Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia danced to the gold medal. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada claimed the silver, and Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates captured the bronze.
Dancing to The Four Seasons and "Lacrimosa," Bobrova and Soloviev produced difficult lifts and twizzles, earning a Level 4 for these elements. The spin merited a Level 4 as well, while the step sequences were Levels 2 and 3. However, Bobrova fell on a transition move.
The European champions placed second in the free dance with 99.90 points but remained in first place overall with 168.32 points.
"Too bad about the fall; this was terrible," Bobrova said. "But aside from that, it was a great skate and we enjoyed it. We have always to skate with these emotions, but we need to be a bit careful to control them.
"The levels were better than in our first competition; just the circular step sequence was second level. Probably, this was an effect of the fall."
Weaver and Poje turned in a tango program to Maria de Buenos Aires and picked up a Level 4 for five elements and a Level 3 for the other three to score 101.64 points. They accumulated 168.32 points overall.
"Andrew and I are very pleased," Weaver said. "It was a personal-best skate for us, not a personal-best score, but we are very happy that we came back strong and fought today. We are happy that the audience felt we skated the best today. The support was incredible; that helped us to perform very well."
Chock and Bates performed to Les Misérables and also skated well. Five elements merited Level 4's, and they posted a season's best with 95.57 points, edging out Russia's Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko for the bronze medal with 153.37 points.
"Maddie and I are really happy with the week as a whole, especially our two performances," Bates said. "I think that this is our best competition to date. Our next event is U.S championships, which will be our most important event and Olympic qualifier for us. We use this as a stepping stone for our preparation for that competition."
Riazanova and Tkachenko slipped to fourth with 152.36 points, while Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin of Russia finished fifth at 145.92 points.
Bobrova and Soloviev qualified with a silver and gold medal for the Final, while Weaver and Poje booked their ticket to Japan with two silver medals.