Finland’s Laura Lepistö, who missed half of last season due to injury, made her senior debut on the Grand Prix circuit.
And it was a good one.
The Finnish silver medalist placed first after the short with a new personal best of 59.18 points.
Lepistö displayed great edge quality and flow in her routine to music from The Legend of 1900 soundtrack, landing an easy triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop, and a flying sit spin with good good air position.
There appeared to be a calmness to her skating, though not timid. The Nordics 2007 silver medalist also produced a double Axel and two good level four spins.
The stunned Finn felt it was the best short program she’s ever done.
“It was almost perfect and the best I could do,” said Lepistö. “My jumps went well, but also my other elements such as my spins and spirals. I didn’t expect this.”
Emily Hughes of the U.S. showed power in her routine from the start, landing a nice triple flip out of footwork in her Gershwin routine to I Got Rhythm.
The 2007 Four Continents silver medalist also delivered a good triple Lutz-double toeloop combination and a double Axel before displaying good extensions on her spiral sequence. The American ended her routine with a very good level four layback and combination spin, earning a new personal best of 58.72 points for a second place finish.
Japan’s Mao Asada, who had problems with some jumps, placed third with 58.08 points.
The Japanese champion, who seems to have grown a fair bit taller since last year, underrotated and fell out of the landing of the second jump of of her triple flip-triple loop combination. She was also penalized on her triple Lutz for taking off from the inside edge, but landed a good double Axel.
Teammate Yukari Nakano is currently in fourth place with 55.94 points. The 22-year-old fell on a triple Lutz, but otherwise landed a triple flip-double toeloop and a double Axel.
Canada’s Joannie Rochette is in a close fifth with 55.48 points. The 2007 Four Continents bronze medalist produced a good double Axel, but two-footed the landing on her triple Lutz and had a shaky landing on a triple flip-double toeloop combination.
Nana Takeda of Japan and Estonia’s Elena Glebova currently sit in sixth and seventh place, respectively.