Yu-Na Kim was the gold medal winner in her first appearance at this event, while Japan’s Mao Asada and Switzerland’s Sarah Meier captured the silver and bronze, respectively.
Performing to Nocturne by Frederic Chopin, Asada opened her ethereal routine with a triple Lutz, followed by a good triple flip-triple loop combination, a very good level four spiral sequence, and a solid double Axel. The 2006 World Junior silver medalist also displayed two very good level spins and level three footwork to place first with 69.34 points.
“The first thing my coach (Rafael Arutunian) said after I came off the ice was that I skated brilliantly,” said Asada. “I was nervous this morning in practice but not when I came to the competition. My goal here is to skate better than I did at NHK Trophy.”
Teammate Miko Ando landed a good triple Lutz-triple loop combination, a triple flip, and a double Axel in her confident routine to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. The 2004 World Junior Champion also produced a good level four spiral sequence, a good level three straight line step sequence, and two good level four spins, earning a new personal best of 67.52 points for a second place finish.
“I was very nervous and I wanted to do everything cleanly,” said Ando, “but I stumbled [in the footwork] once. I had to skate last, and it made me nervous. My right foot has been hurting a little bit since the practice this morning.”
Kim opened her sophisticated program to El Tango De Roxanne with an effortless triple flip-triple toeloop combination, followed by a good level four spiral sequence, a level four flying sit spin, but slightly touched down on a triple Lutz. Despite some shaky positions in the last combination spin, the current World Junior Champion also produced a beautiful level three layback spin and a solid double Axel out of an Ina Bauer to earn 65.06 points for a third place finish.
“I worried a lot and I also had some back pain,” confessed the 16-year-old. “I had a little mistake at the beginning of the performance, but it didn’t affect the result. But mainly I am satisfied with my skating.”
Meier produced a clean routine to Concerto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo, landing a solid triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, a triple flip, and a double Axel. The Swiss National Champion also executed two level four spins, a level four spiral sequence, and a level three straight line footwork sequence, placing fourth with 59.46 points.
Japan’s Fumie Suguri opened her Bolero routine with a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, followed by a solid triple flip and a nice layback, but then singled an Axel. The 2006 World silver medalist also stumbled in the entry of her last combination spin, but otherwise produced a good spiral sequence and footwork, earning 55.14 points for a fifth place finish.
Julia Sebestyen of Hungary landed a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination in her routine to Schubert’s Serenade, but doubled a flip and popped a double Axel. The 25-year-old placed sixth with 49.40 points.
Performing her lyrical routine to The Lark Ascending, Kim nailing her opening triple flip-triple toeloop combination, followed by a double Axel, a very good layback spin, and a triple Lutz. Despite stepping out of her second double Axel, the 2005 Junior Grand Prix Final Champion also delivered a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double loop combination, a triple Salchow-double toeloop combination, and a double Axel. The 2006 Skate Canada bronze medalist also produced a good level four spiral sequence and good spins, earning 119.14 points for a first place finish in the long. With a total of 184.20 points, she rose from third to first place overall to win the gold.
“I wasn’t expecting to win this competition because I have a back injury coming into it,” said Kim. “This is a great result for me. I can’t believe it yet. The Japanese skaters are strong competitors and it was a great experience to compete against them.”
Meier, who stood in fourth after the short, performed a romantic routine to Pride and Prejudice, opening with a triple Lutz-double toeloop-double loop combination, followed by a triple flip-double toeloop combination, and a triple flip. Despite doubling a Lutz, as well as doubling and stepping out of a triple toeloop (in combination with a double toeloop), the 2006 Cup of Russian Champion also delivered a double Axel, a triple Salchow, a level three straight line footwork sequence, and four level four spins, earning 110.82 points for a second place finish in the long and third overall (170.28 points).
“I hardly can believe that I medalled,” said Meier. “I never would have expected that. I didn’t think I’d have a chance to medal here. I was very tired and this was my third competition [after Cup of Russia and Swiss Nationals] in a short period of time. Now I need a break.”
Suguri skated to selections of music by Karl Jenkins, opening with a triple Lutz-double toeloop combination, but then doubled a flip and singled a toeloop. The 25-year-old quickly recovered to produce a triple Lutz, a triple flip-double toeloop combination, and a double Axel, but then doubled a Salchow. Despite the mistakes in her intricate routine, the four-time and reigning Japanese Champion also displayed good spins and footwork, earning 103.64 points for a third place finish in the long and fourth overall (158.78 points).
Overnight leader Asada fell on a triple Axel attempt in the opening of her Czardas routine, and later on a triple Lutz, but otherwise landed a double Axel-triple toeloop combination, three more triple jumps, and a solid double Axel. The reigning Grand Prix Final Champion also produced a good footwork and spins, placing fourth in the long with 103.18 points and second overall (172.52 points) to win the silver.
“I regret that I wasn’t able to skate as I expected,” said Asada. “At Skate America, the triple Axel didn’t work either and I thought this wouldn’t happen again, but unfortunately it did. I now will prepare in Japan for the Japanese National Championships.”
Sebestyen landed a triple Salchow-double toeloop-double loop combination, but then singled a Lutz, a flip, and a double Axel. The Hungarian National Champion also struggled on the landing of a triple Lutz to place fifth in the long (93.29 points) and overall (142.69 points).
Ando fared the worse. The 2006 Skate America Champion singled four of her six triple jumps. Though the 18-year-old displayed a difficult spiral sequence and good spins, she only earned 89.80 points for a sixth place finish in the long, dropping from second to fifth place overall with a total 157.32 points.