China’s Sui and Han lead after Pairs Short Program
Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China currently lead the Pairs discipline, followed closely by Japan’s Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia.
Sui and Han produced solid side-by-side double Axels and a high double twist, however, Sui put her hand down on the throw triple Salchow. The Junior Grand Prix Final Champions otherwise delivered a very good level 4 lift, pair combination spin, and back outside death spiral to earn a new personal best of 60.94 points (36.46/24.48) for their routine to Barynia.
“Overall we’re quite satisfied with our performance although in some places it wasn’t our best,” Han said.
Takahashi and Tran’s routine featured solid side-by-side double Axels and a double twist in their Spanish Flamenco routine. The Japanese Champions also displayed a level 4 one-armed lift and death spiral, as well as a throw triple Salchow. Both spins were graded a level four, and the reigning Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalists earned a new personal best of 59.54 points (36.46/23.08).
“Today was really good,” said Tran. “We had a few wobbles here and there, but we were together in the side-by-side spin, which is better than usual.”
Stolbova and Klimov had perhaps the best throw triple Salchow of the 21 teams. The Russian Junior Champions also delivered a double twist and side-by-side double Axels, however they were only awarded a level 1 on their straight line footwork and a level 2 on the death spiral. Nevertheless, the team from St. Petersburg earned a new personal best of 54.26 points (32.12/22.12) for their “Russian Fantasy” routine.
“We executed all our elements,” noted Klimov. “We did our minimum and we didn’t outdo ourselves, but we are pleased that it was a clean performance and that we got our best score of the season.”
USA’s Britney Simpson and Nathan Miller placed fourth with 52.20 points with their routine to “Asian Fusion”. The team produced a good double twist, throw triple Salchow, and earned a level 4 on their lift and pair combination spin.
Russia’s Tatiana Novik and Mikhail Kuznetsov showed good spins in their Mozart routine, however, Novik fell on a double Axel and team is currently fifth with 49.38 points.
USA’s Felicia Zhang and Taylor Toth are in a close sixth (48.50 points), followed by Canada’s Brittany Jones and Kurtis Gaskell (48.12 points).