Kim captures Cup of China gold

Yu-Na Kim of South Korea won the ladies event by a over a whopping 24 points. It should also be noted that of all 12 competitors, only Kim received no deductions for her long program.

USA’s Caroline Zhang maintained second place overall to win the silver, while Carolina Kostner of Italy slipped from first to third place overall, settling for bronze.

Kim opened her routine with a spectacular triple flip-triple toeloop combination, followed by a triple loop, a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double loop combination, and a double Axel-triple toeloop combination.

The only flaw came when the 17-year-old popped a Lutz, but she otherwise landed a triple Salchow and a double Axel. The 2006-07 Grand Prix Final champion was also awarded a level four on a flying combination spin that received +GoEs from all but one judge.

“I was nervous after my mistake in the short program,” said Kim. “I had one day to prepare and I mostly tried to focus on my program. I am glad that I was able to come back today and to win.”

The South Korean champion, who was third after the short program, earned a new personal best of 122.36 points for her routine to music from the Miss Saigon soundtrack, easily placing first in the long and overall with a total of 180.68 points.

The South Korean, who lives in Canada is coached by Brian Orser, added that she wasn’t completely satisfied with the presentation of her program yet.

“I will work a lot on [it] for my next competition,” said Kim.

As with many of the other ladies, the “edge monster” was on Zhang’s shoulder when she took the ice, and the U.S. junior silver medalist was penalized for using the wrong take-off edge on both of her triple Lutzes – one of which she underrotated and fell on.

Zhang also underrotated and fell on a triple flip, but otherwise landed a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, and a triple loop-double toeloop-double loop combination.

Despite the errors, the current World Junior champion skated a lyrical program to Ave Maria which also featured a gorgeous level four layback spin and a very good level four combination spin. Zhang earned 97.58 points, placing second in the long and overall with a total score of 156.34 points.

The 14-year-old later told the press that she was only happy with the first part of her performance.

“he second half was not as good,” said Zhang. “I could have done better.”

Fumie Suguri of Japan, who was in 11th place after the short, fought back in the long program, earning 92.37 points for a third place finish. With a total score of 137.13 points, the 26-year-old, who trains in Moscow under Alexander Zhulin, catapulted into fourth place overall.

The 2006 World silver medalist, who received a deduction for a time violation, was also penalized for the wrong use of edge on her two triple Lutzes – one of which was downgraded to a double, but otherwise produced a triple toeloop-double Axel sequence, a triple flip-double toeloop combination, and a double Axel.

Kostner, who was in first after the short program, placed fourth in the long with 83.04 points. With a total score of 143.86, the European champion slipped to third overall.

The Italian champion suffered from a multitude of jump problems: a fall on a triple flip, underrotating and falling on the second jump of a double Axel-triple toeloop combination, and doubling a triple Lutz and triple flip. The only two triples landed were a Salchow and a loop.

The 2007 Nebelhorn Trophy champion appeared to lack focus and drive after the second fall, resulting in two flawed spins, but was awarded positive GoEs for her level two straightline footwork sequence.

Julia Sebestyen of Hungary placed fifth in the long (81.14 points) and overall (136.60 points).

The defending champion fell on a triple Lutz and a triple flip (which was also “edge” penalized). The 26-year-old also doubled a Salchow and singled an Axel in a combination jump, but landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double loop combination and a triple flip.

USA’s Beatrisa Liang finished in sixth place overall (127.42 points). The 19-year-old fell on a triple Lutz, a triple flip, and a triple toeloop. Liang was also penalized for using the wrong take-off edge on both of her triple Lutzes.

Susanna Pöykiö of Finland slipped from sixth to eighth place overall after placing ninth in the long program.

China’s Dan Fang placed seventh in the long and overall.

Kim picked up 15 points for her win at this event, and competes in two weeks at Cup of Russia.

Zhang, who earned 11 points at Skate America, added 13 more from this event for a total of 24.

Kostner (11 points) will compete later this month at NHK Trophy.

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