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Québec has proven to be a lucky place for Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the province in which she claimed the first Grand Prix title of her senior career in 2011.
Performing to “Assassin’s Tango,” Tuktamysheva killed it in the short program, hitting a triple Axel, a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination and a triple Lutz. She earned a season’s best 74.22 points for her efforts. “I feel great. I skated a clean short program with the triple Axel for the first time this season. I am so happy that I did everything what I wanted,” said the 2015 World champion.
“Not a long time ago, I remembered how I came to Skate Canada for my first Grand Prix and everything seemed so easy. I didn’t think it was such a serious event. I just enjoyed competing at the senior level. I have had a lot of ups and downs since then, and now I want to put all the experience I have into my programs. I hope I will be able to skate well tomorrow.”
Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi skated into second in the short. She executed a double Axel, a triple Lutz-triple toe combination and earned Level 4 for her spins in her upbeat routine to “Energia” by Sofi Tukker. However, she under-rotated the triple flip. The 2018 World silver medalist scored a season high 66.51 points. “I am happy to perform better than in practice and that I didn’t pop any jumps. That was good for me,” the 17-year-old said. “Compared to my last competition…in my practice I tried to improve each element, to do better jumps and to spin faster.”
Mako Yamashita of Japan laid down a strong performance to “Una voce poco fa” from “The Barber of Seville,” which included a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, a triple flip and double Axel. The 2018 World junior bronze medalist earned 66.30 points, also a season’s best. “I was able to have fun when skating today and I did not make any big mistakes,” said the 15-year-old from Nagoya.
America’s Starr Andrews improved on her performance at Skate America to place fourth with 64.77 points. Her teammate, Mariah Bell ranked fifth with 63.35 points ahead of Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva who placed sixth (61.19 points). Two-time World champion Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia landed in seventh place after missing a triple flip, which left her with no combination (60.83 points).
Tuktamysheva continued her golden roll this season by clinching her first Grand Prix title in four years, but it was close. She narrowly edged out Yamashita for the title by just 0.26 of a point.
Performing to “You Don’t Love Me,” “Petite Fleur” and “Cat Groove,” Tuktamysheva fell on her opening triple Axel attempt but recovered to land five triple jumps and two double Axels. With 129.10 points, she ranked third in the free but held on to first place with a total score of 203.32.
“I didn’t skate so well today, I fell on my triple Axel and I was nervous to be honest,” Tuktamysheva admitted. “I’m happy I am in first place but I need to work a lot. My next event is the NHK Trophy in Japan and I’m very glad I can go there. I want to improve my triple Axel and skate better in Japan.”
Yamashita nailed six clean triples in her long program set to “Madame Butterfly,” which included two triple Lutz-triple toe combinations. Her triple loop was deemed under-rotated. A score of 136.76 points ranked second in the free and she captured silver with 203.06 points. “I didn’t expect to win a medal today. I did the best I could and this led to me winning a medal. I learned a lot and I need to improve a lot,” said Yamashita, who was competing in her first senior Grand Prix event.
Medvedeva’s determined “Libertango” performance to a medley of Astor Piazzolla Tangos featured six clean triples, including a triple flip-triple toe and a triple Salchow-triple toe loop combination. Her only glitch was under-rotating the triple loop. The 2018 Olympic silver medalist picked up 137.08 points to win the long program. She accumulated 197.91 points to surge from seventh to third overall.
“It wasn’t my best, there were a lot of mistakes,” said Medvedeva who earned a standing ovation for her performance. “My next Grand Prix is in France so I have three weeks. In three weeks, I can do a huge amount of work. I want to improve my skating skills and focus on my technique, on the spins, my jumps. In France I have to win in order to be sure to go to the Final.”
Bell placed fourth with 190.25 points ahead of Tursynbaeva who moved up from sixth to fifth with 185.71. Higuchi dropped from second to sixth (181.29 points).