Voronov takes gold at Russian Nationals

Sergei Voronov, 20, won his first national title after an inspiring performance in the long program.

Sergei Voronov won his first national title after an inspiring long program set to tango music by Astor Piazzolla. The student of Alexei Urmanov opened with a solid quadruple toeloop (which earned him an additional 2.00 bonus from the RFSF) and proceed to land two triple Axels (one in combination with double toeloop), two triple toeloops, and one triple loop.

Voronov’s only mistake was to double a planned triple Salchow, but his spins and step sequences were strong and very expressive. The 2007 Trophée Eric Bompard silver medalist gained 152.09 (73.45/76.64) points for a first place finish in the long, and subsequently won the competition with a total score of 231.07 points – nearly a 30-point margin.

“I was very tired today and it was very hard to skate the program,” admitted Voronov. “I almost felt like stopping in the middle of it because I had no strength left.”

“Of course I am very happy to win here,” continued the 20-year-old, “but I have to say that Andrei Lutai also skated well. I drew to skate right after him, so I saw a part of his performance and I heard his marks and I knew I had to be 100% today.

Voronov also revealed that he’s currently working on his triple flip and triple Lutz. “They are not yet consistent enough to put them in the program,” he said, “but hopefully I can get them back before Europeans.”

Andrei Lutai finished second in free skate with and won silver – his first national. He opened his Tosca program with a strong triple Axel, but then had to fight for the landing of a quadruple toeloop. He also landed a triple Axel-double toeloop combination and three more triple jumps, but doubled a flip and stepped out of the landing of a triple Salchow. The student of Alexei Mishin was obviously tired during the second half of the program, and appeared to focus on landing his jumps, so his spins seemed rather weak and he only remembered to present his program during the most dramatic parts of the music. He earned 140.47 (66.65/71.82) points (plus a two point bonus for aa clean quadruple jump), and 202.79 points overall.

“I skated well,” said Lutai. “I coped with me nerves and performed well. It wasn’t perfect, but it was well done. On one hand I’m a bit disappointed to be second, but on the other, it means that I have preserved my position on the national podium, so it’s good enough.”

The 21-year-old wasn’t aware of the bonuses that RFSF proposed for quads until after he learned that Voronov received one in his Short Program.

“If I knew about them beforehand, I would have went for a quadruple-triple combination in the short,” shared Lutai. “But I thought it would be better to play it safe here. Anyway, I will [attempt] the quad combination at Europeans.”

Defending champion Andrei Griazev had to settle for the bronze medal this year. After a shaky short program, the Muscovite was eager to prove his worth and went for two quadruple attempts in his free skate to music from the Godfather soundtrack. Unfortunately, both were unsuccessful. The 2007 Cup of Russia bronze medalist popped his opening quad to a double. He later underrotated more than half of a turn on his second quad attempt that resulted in a crash. He otherwise landed two strong triple Axels – one in combination with a triple toeloop- and three more triple jumps. He earned 131.06 (62.28/70.78) points for a third place finish in the long and overall (195.12 points).

“I really wanted to land a quad today, but I failed,” said the 22-year-old. “On the positive side, I have to say that otherwise my program has been pretty strong. I didn’t allow the mistake on the opening element to affect the [rest of the] performance.”

Konstantin Menshov pulled up to fourth place overall despite finishing sixth in the short and fifth in the free. The student of Evgeny Rukavitsyn opened his program with a clean quadruple toeloop-double toeloop combination jump followed by another quadruple toeloop in which he stepped out of the landing. He also did a clean triple flip and triple Salchow, but doubled a loop and fell on an overrotated triple toeloop at the end of the program. Additionally, the 24-year-old had problems with his planned combination jump: after he stepped out of a triple Lutz landing, he tacked on a triple toeloop but the judging panel didn’t count it as a combination jump. The 2007 Coupe de Nice silver medalist earned 118.80 (52.56/64.24 +2.00 bonus) points and 181.39 total.

Alexander Uspenski finished sixth in free program with 117.64 (54.28/65.36) points and fifth overall (180.96 points). The 20-year-old crashed on his opening quadruple toeloop, doubled a planned triple Axel, and fell on a triple loop. The student of Marina Kudryavsteva was obviously exhausted after the first two minutes of his program and appeared to struggle through the rest of his routine.

His younger brother Vladimir was seventh in the long program with 114.75 (54.33/60.42) points, but sixth overall (178.60 points). The 18-year-old opened his program with strong triple Axel and later landed three more triple jumps, but he doubled a triple Lutz and put his hand down on the landing of a triple loop.

Ivan Bariev, who stood in 10th after the short, placed fourth in the long even though he only landed four clean triple jumps – none of which were a triple Axel. However, the 16-year-old presented his Flamenco well, showing strong spins and expressive step sequences, and earned 119.32 (58.82/60.50) points. He subsequently moved up to seventh place overall with 176.87 points.

The preliminary line-up for the European Figure Skating Championships is as follows: Kawaguchi/Smirnov, Mukhortova/Trankov, Ushakova/Karev, Voronov, Lutai, Domnina/Shabalin, Khokhlova/Novitski, Rubleva/Shefer, Doronina, Petushkova.

At press time, however, this line-up has yet to be finalized by the RFSF Council.

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