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Samarin leads men in Russian sweep at 2019 Rostelecom Cup

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2019 Rostelecom Cup

Men’s Short Program

The Russian men dominated home ice in the Short Program 2019 Rostelecom Cup on Friday with Alexander Samarin leading the pack. Teammates Dmitri Aliev and Makar Ignatov are in second and third, respectively.

Samarin fell on a quad Lutz and put a foot down on a triple Axel, but otherwise nailed his opening quad Lutz-triple toe which received mostly +4 and +5 grades of execution (GOE) across the board. The 2019 European silver medalist also displayed level 4 spins and footwork throughout his routine to “Blues for Klook”, earning 92.81 points.

“First of all, I want to thank the crowd for their support, I really enjoyed skating here,” said the 2019 Internationaux de France silver medalist. “There were mistakes in the short program, but the competition is not over yet.”

Aliev was near-perfect in his routine to “Je Dors Sur Des Roses”, but opted for a triple Lutz instead of a planned quad in combination with a triple toe. Nevertheless, the element received positive GOEs and he followed up with a quad toe  and triple Axel. The 2019 Skate America bronze medalist also showed two level 4 spins and footwork to receive 90.64 points.

“There were some errors,” noted the 20-year-old. “The Lutz in the combination should have been a quad. Overall, I’m pleased, but I would have liked to open up more in the step sequence and to make the program brighter. The choreographers gave this music to me and I watched the opera on Youtube and I really liked how they played on stage and I wanted to bring that on to the ice.”

In his first Grand Prix event, teammate Ignatov landed a clean quad Salchow-triple toe and quad toe in his performance to “In This Shirt” by The Irrepressibles. The only mistake came when he stepped out of triple Axel. The 2019 Nebelhorn Trophy champion earned  a new personal best of 87.54 points—a whopping 22-point increase since his challenger event earlier this season.

“I was really nervous,” admitted the 19-year-old. “I was sleeping today and had dreams about figure skating. I wanted to do everything and that caused a mistake on the triple Axel.”

“I did not expect to be in the top three,” added the skater from St. Petersburg said. “I was just happy that I showed everything that I can do, all the elements. The rest does not depend on me.”

Japan’s Shoma Uno fell on an underrotated quad flip, but rallied to land a quad toe-double toe in his “Great Spirit” routine. The 2018 Olympic silver medalist also landed a solid triple Axel and finished a close fourth with 87.29 points.

“I feel relieved,” said the 2019 Four Continents champion. “I missed a quad flip, but I don’t think it’s a big problem. It’s step by step towards the end of the season. After the mistake, I managed to skate well. I feel really comfortable with Stephane Lambiel as a coach.”

Deniss Vasiljevs of Latvia delivered a triple flip-triple toe and  triple Axel and displayed strong spins and footwork, but had a tight landing on a triple Lutz. The 2019 CS Nepela Memorial bronze medalist earned a new personal best of 87.08 for fifth place.

“I haven’t skated this program in a competition yet, so I was happy today,” said the 20-year-old. “I like to be on Rostelecom ice very much. People support me here so much and it’s a motivation for me that makes my performance emotional. Today I got positive vibes and good memories.”

Canada’s Nam Nguyen produced a quad Salchow-triple toe, triple Axel and triple flip in his routine and sits in sixth (87.01).

“I’m really happy with how I put myself out there and I think it’s really important for me to keep believing in my confidence,” lamented the 2019 Canadian Champion. “For tomorrow, I’m looking forward to having a great time with the audience.”

Japan’s Kazuki Tomono is currently in seventh (80.98), followed by Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic (80.27) and Morisi Kvitelashvili of Georgia (75.87).