Russian teenager Kostornaia wins NHK Trophy for 2nd GP title
SAPPORO – Teenager Alena Kostornaia captured her second title of the season Saturday at the NHK Trophy to complete a sweep of the Grand Prix series by Russian women.
Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan breezed to victory in the men’s event, landing four quadruple jumps.
"For now, I'm happy that I was able to get through ... stayed healthy, had no pain and no injuries,” he said.
Olympic silver medalists Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China won the pairs, and four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France took the ice dance.
Kostornaia opened her free skate with a triple axel-double toeloop combination but stumbled on the landing of her next jump, another triple axel. The 16-year-old added six more triple jumps to finish with 154.96 points for a total of 240.00.
“I was satisfied with all my performances here,” said Kostornaia, who set a record score of 85.04 in the short program Friday. “It was an honor to set a record score in the short program and I was pleased with my result today. I’m looking forward to performing well at the Grand Prix Final where my goal is as always to skate clean and improve my technical score.”
Japan’s Rika Kihira landed two triple axels and finished second with 231.84 points while Olympic champion Alina Zagitova of Russia was third with 217.99.
Zagitova, fourth after the short program, opened with a triple lutz-triple loop combination and scored high points for a triple flip and another triple lutz later in her routine.
“After the short program I was upset of course,” Zagitova said. “But I pulled myself together thanks to my coaches ... In the program, I was just thinking from one element to the next what I need to do.”
Adding to her win in France, Kostornaia also qualified for the Dec. 5-8 Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy. Russian women have now won all six of the ISU’s GP series titles. Kihira and Zagitova also qualified, joining Russians Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova.
Qualifying for Turin from the U.S. were Bradie Tennell in women’s singles and Madison Chock and Evan Bates in ice dance.
In the men’s event, Hanyu finished with 305.05 points. He had a solid 18-point lead after the short program and didn’t falter in the free skate. His only mistake was underrotating a triple toeloop as part of a combination jump.
Kevin Aymoz of France was second with 250.02 points, followed by Canada’s Roman Sadovsky with 247.50.
In pairs, Wenjing and Cong won with 226.96 points, their second victory on the Grand Prix circuit this season. Canadian champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro were second (208.49 points) while Russians Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov were third (203.35).
In ice dance, Papadakis and Cizeron led the way with 226.61 points. They were followed by Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin (208.81) and Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (198.06).
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