Aljona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany edged out Russia’s Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov by 1.42 points to win the gold, while Russia’s newly-formed team of Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov captured the bronze.
Savchenko and Szolkowy executed a very high throw triple flip, but Savchenko put her hand down on the landing. The current Grand Prix Final bronze medalists went on to produce good side-by-side triple toeloops, a triple twist, a difficult lift, two good spins, and a very good level four spiral sequence, earning 63.96 points for a first place finish in their routine to music from the soundtrack Once Upon a Time.
“We’re not too satisfied with the performance because we had the mistake on the throw jump and a lot of other small mistakes,” said Savchenko. “But it was better than our [Short Program] at Cup of China.” Szolkowy added: “I wasn’t really into it from the very beginning. It started with the throw and there were also wobbles in the spins.”
Skating to Sarabande by Handel, Petrova and Tikhonov opened with a triple twist, but then Tikhonov stepped out of the landing on the side-by-side triple toeloops. However, the current World bronze medalists recovered to produce a very good throw triple loop, a difficult lift, two good level four spins, and a good backward-outside death spiral, earning a score of 62.28 points for a second place finish after the short.
“Unfortunately I made a mistake on the triple toe,” said Tikhonov. “We had to skate first. I came late out of the locker room and I rushed. I didn’t calm down. I felt like the judges held back with the second mark, but we’ll prove tomorrow that we deserve better.”
Teammates Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov delivered a good routine to Rondo Capriccioso, executing good side-by-side triple toeloops, a triple twist, a good throw triple loop, and a very good level four lift. The new team earned 59.46 points for a third place finish after the short.
“We skated well,” said Kawaguchi, “but each element could have been better. Being third today comes as a surprise to us. Now we just want to show in the free skating what we’ve learned in the short time with Tamara Moskvina (their coach).”
Poland’s Dorota Siudek and Mariusz Siudek were fourth with 57.98 points. Mariusz underrotated and two-footed the landing on the side-by-side triple toeloops and the team’s side-by-side combination spin was out of unison.
Wakamatsu and Fecteau produced a very good double twist and a throw triple loop, but Wakamatsu fell on the side-by-side triple toeloops. They were fifth (52.92 points) followed by USA’s Kendra Moyle and Andy Seitz (49.08 points).
Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay of Canada were unable to compete as Langlois’ luggage was lost (and not yet recovered) on their flight to Russia.
Petrova and Tikhonov opened their Moonlight Sonata routine with a triple twist, but then both skaters put a hand down on the landing of their side-by-side triple toeloops. Despite the mistake, the Russian National Champions recovered to produce a side-by-side double Axel-double Axel sequence, a good throw triple loop, three good level four lifts, a good throw triple Salchow, and a good spins, earning 115.75 points for a first place finish in the long. With a total score of 178.03 points, the reigning European bronze medalists slipped to second place overall.
“There was not much time after Paris [last week at Trophee Bompard], and so we weren’t able to polish our program,” said Petrova. “But we’ll have some time now before the Grand Prix Final and everything will be fine by then.”
Skating to music from The Mission soundtrack, overnight leaders Savchenko and Szolkowy opened with a high throw triple flip, but then Savchenko doubled both jumps on the triple toeloop-triple toeloop sequence. She also later singled a jump in the side-by-side double Axels. Despite the mistakes, the 2006 European silver medalists delivered a triple twist, a very good level four spiral sequence, three level four lifts, and an excellent throw triple Salchow. The German National Champions earned 115.49 points for a second place finish in the long, but with a total score of 179.45 points, overcame the Russians to place first overall and win the gold.
“This is not the way we wanted to win,” said Savchenko. “We can skate totally differently. We’re doing the elements in practice, but that’s sport, and we have to move on and to continue to work on these elements. We were too nervous and then we didn’t have enough strength and it was hard to skate for us.”
Kawaguchi and Smirnov opened their long with a side-by-side triple toeloop sequence, followed by a high triple twist, and side-by-side double Axels. However, Yuko put her hand down on the landing of a throw triple loop and Alexander missed some positions in the side-by-side pair spin, but the Russian team otherwise produced three good lifts and a very good throw triple Salchow, earning 109.04 for a third place finish in the long and overall (168.50 points) to win the bronze.
“We did have a few minor mistakes and our coach (Tamara Moskvina) already told us that we have a lot of work still ahead of us before the next competition,” said Smirnov. “But we’re very happy with the decision of the judges today.”
The Siudek’s, who stood in fourth after the short, experienced problems in their routine when Dorota fell on the side-by-side double Axels and doubled her jump on the side-by-side triple toeloop sequence. The 2006 Skate America silver medalists placed fourth in the long (105.15 points) and overall with a total score of 163.13.
The ice fairy simply was not present for Wakamatsu and Fecteau. The team racked up a total of five deductions when Wakamatsu fell on two throw triple jumps, both skaters fell during a pair combination spin, and Fecteau fell on the landing of a second Axel in a double Axel-double Axel sequence. The 2006 Four Continents silver medalists placed fifth in the long (87.71 points) and overall (140.63 points).
Moyle and Seitz remained in sixth overall with a total of 136.78 points.
Cup of Russia was a scoring event for all pair entries.
Savchenko and Szolkowy picked up 15 points to add to the 11 points they earned at Cup of China. With a total of 26 points, it is almost certain they will be guaranteed a spot at the upcoming Grand Prix Final.
Petrova and Tikhonov earned 13 points to add to the 15 from their win at Trophee Eric Bompard, and with total of 28 points, will be competing at the Grand Prix Final as well.
Cup of Russia was a lone Grand Prix event for Kawaguchi and Smirnov (11 points).