Golden Skate

Kostner leads ladies in Harbin

Carolina Kostner of Italy leads the ladies after the short program, followed by USA’s Carolina Zhang and Yu-Na Kim of South Korea.

Kostner, who missed the Grand Prix last season due to injury, was pleased with her performance.

“I was very nervous going into it,” said the 20-year-old. “This is a small comeback for me.”

Kostner opened her short with a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, but then barely hung onto the landing of a triple Lutz. The Italian champion otherwise produced a double Axel, a level four flying sit spin, and a level three straightline footwork sequence, earning 60.82 points.

Zhang delivered a nearly flawless routine to Spanish Gypsy by Ray de Tone, but was “edge” penalized on a triple Lutz – a mistake she also made two weeks ago at Skate America.

The current World Junior champion otherwise produced a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, a double Axel, a level four combination spin. Zhang was also received high grades of execution (GoEs) on her spiral sequence and layback spin, both of which were awarded a level four, earning a score of 58.76 points.

The 14-year-old was happy with her performance, but felt it could have been better.

“I think I held my spins this time, better than at Skate America,” said Zhang. “My jumps could have been bigger and I really was slow today, but I am pleased with my overall performance.”

Kim landed a triple Lutz and a double Axel, but popped the landing of her second jump in a triple flip-triple toeloop combination. Despite the error, the 2006-07 Grand Prix Final champion otherwise produced three level three spins, earning 58.32 points in her routine to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss.

Disappointment was obvious on the young skater’s face as she left the ice for the kiss-and-cry.

Kim admitted to being nervous after the mistake on the jump.

“It’s my first competition of the season,” said the 17-year-old. “Now I have one day to prepare for the free skating. I just want to forget about the mistake and want to give my best.”

Performing to Serenade by Franz Schubert, Julia Sebestyen of Hungary opened with a beautiful triple flip, but then underrotated her first jump in a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination. The Hungarian champion is currently in fourth with 55.46 points.

USA’s Alissa Czisny sits in fifth place with 51.08 points after her routine to The Swan by Camille Saint-Saens. The 2007 U.S. bronze medalist underrotated and stepped out of the landing of a triple Lutz. She was also penalized for using the wrong takeoff edge on a triple flip-double toeloop combination, but otherwise produced a double Axel, two level four spins, and a very good spiral sequence.

Susanna Pöykiö of Finland skated to a flamenco which featured a triple flip-double toeloop combination and a double Axel, however the 25-year-old doubled a Lutz. She is currently in sixth place with 48.48 points.

USA’s Beatrisa Liang is in seventh place after the short, followed by Dan Fang of China.

The competition continues with the Original Dance, Men’s Short Program, and the Pairs Long Program.

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