Sergei is one of Team Russia's "promising older skaters," along with Konstantin Menshov. He was a 2-time Russian National Champion in '08 and '09, and has been on the podium every year after that except for one. He is the current European silver medalist as well.
It hasn't been an easy path for him, between injuries and coaching changes, but he seems to have truly blossomed since he moved to Eteri Tutberidze's group. While he gets a lot of flack for being "just a technical skater," "unrefined," "not artistic," etc....I think he has come a very long way from a few years ago.
I've also noticed a lot of people predicting him to come in last place at the GPF. While I don't expect him to get gold or silver, I don't particuarly think his chances for a bronze are worse than anyone else's. I hope he surprises all the naysayers and just skates well...medal or no medal.