Russia’s Anna Shcherbakova backed up her victory at Skate America with a solid win at Cup of China on Saturday. With 30 points for her two competitions, the 15-year-old became the first lady to claim a berth at the 2019 Grand Prix Final in Torino, Italy in December.
Although Shcherbakova claimed the title by a 14.86-point margin, her free skate, set to Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne No. 1” and Stravinski’s “Firebird,” was subject to a number of technical calls, all on Lutz jumps. The opening quad Lutz (in combination with a triple toe) was deemed under-rotated; the second quad Lutz received an edge call and in the second half of the program she again received edge calls on two triple Lutz jumps.
“The free program was good, but not perfect. There were some mistakes,” said Shcherbakova who earned 152.53 points for the free and 226.04 in total. “I am very happy that I can go to the Grand Prix Final – that was my goal. I don’t know yet what my (program) content will be, but my goal will be as always to skate clean.”
Japan’s Satoko Miyahara has blossomed in the few months she has worked with Canadian coach Lee Barkell. Miyahara delivered a sensitive performance to “Schindler’s List” and Rachmaninov’s “Prelude in C sharp minor” but received three under-rotation calls on jumps in the second half of the program. Miyahara ranked third in the free with 142.27 points, but held on to claim the silver medal with 211.18 in total.
“Today I felt my body very good, better than yesterday. But I was still trying too hard at the end of the program,” said Miyahara. “My next Grand Prix is in Russia next week. This is the first time for me to do two Grand Prixs in a row. I am excited about that, but I also need to take care of my body.”
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva moved up from fourth after the short to finish third with 143.53 points for the free skate (second best of the night) and a combined total of 209.10. Though she landed both triple Axels in her upbeat routine to “You Don’t Love Me,” “Petite Fleur” and “Cat Groove,” both the triple Lutz and triple flip received minus grades of execution.
“I feel much better today than yesterday and I’m happy with my skate,” said Tuktamysheva. “I have only a small chance to go to the Grand Prix Final and maybe I will go to the Challenger event in Zagreb. I’ll try to skate well and prepare for the national championships.”
South Korea’s Young You rose from seventh after the short to finish fourth with 191.81 points. Sofia Samodurova of Russia placed fifth (185.29), ahead of Amber Glenn of the U.S. who dropped from third to sixth (178.35 points).
In the end, the night belonged to fan favorite Boyang Jin who captured the first Grand Prix gold medal of his career. After landing two quad Lutz jumps (the first in combination with a double toe) at the beginning of his “Path of Silence” and “Yellow Moon” long program, he momentarily lost his focus and executed a double toe, for which he earned zero points. Jin pulled it back together and went to finish the program without making another error. With 176.10 points and 261.53 in total, Jin jumped into first place.
“My performance was OK, but still not as good as I have been training. Last year there was no Cup of China and I am very happy that the event came back. The main color of the rink is red, like the spicy color of Chongqing and that motivated me a lot,” Jin said in reference to the signature dishes the city is known for.
Han Yan does not yet have a quad in his repertoire, but nonetheless his performance “La La Land,” was solid and clean other than edge calls on two triple flips. He closed out the day with 162.99 points for the free and with 249.45 in total to capture his first silver medal in six appearances.
“I want to thank the Chinese team that they gave me the chance to come back,” Yan said. “My performance was normal, but I didn’t have the highest degree of difficulty.”
Matteo Rizzo remained in third place, despite finishing fourth in the free following a tumble on a triple Axel in his “Galicia Flamenco” program. He earned 160.16 points for the segment and a combined total of 241.88. “It was like yesterday. I had a good start and then a huge mistake in the second half of the program. I need to go home and practice a lot the second part of my short and free programs,” he explained.
Canada’s Keegan Messing, third in the free, finished fourth overall with 237.36 points, ahead of Japan’s Keiji Tanaka (233.62 points). Jun-Hwan Cha of South Korea had the best free skate of his season to date, which propelled him from 11th after the short to a sixth-place finish overall (222.26 points).