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Shcherbakova defends national title in Krasnoyarsk

Anna Shcherbakova

Anna Shcherbakova performs her Free Skate to “Gnossienne No.1” and “The Firebird.”

2020 Russian Nationals

Ladies’ Free Skate

Anna Shcherbakova repeated as Russian National Champion Saturday in Krasnoyarsk while Alena Kostornaia settled for the silver. Alexandra Trusova maintained third to pocket the bronze. Evgenia Medvedeva withdrew before the Free Skating due to a broken boot.

“Firebird” Shcherbakova flew to victory, landing a quad Lutz-triple toe, quad flip and quad Lutz with ease, as well as producing five more triples and exquisite spins. The ISU Grand Prix Final silver medalist posted a huge score of 181.94 points and racked up 261.87 points overall to pull up one spot. She would have won in the Men’s event with that score, even though the component factor for the Ladies is lower than for the Men.

“I am happy with my performance as almost everything worked out as planned,” said the 15-year-old. “There were some minor errors, but overall, I did well and I’m happy to qualify for the major events this season.”

“I was more nervous than last year at Russian Nationals, because I knew it was an important qualifying competition,” she added, while announcing that she now wants to work on the triple Axel and include it into her programs.

Kostornaia had some problems with the triple Axel in the warm up, but then hit two nice ones in the program to “Twilight” and “Supermassive Black Hole,” as well as six triples. However, the double Axel and the triple flip-triple toe could have been slightly better, as was reflected in the much-needed grades of execution (GOE), and perhaps cost her the title. The 16-year-old earned 169.97 points in the free and totaled 259.83 to slipped to second.

“I could have skated better and this was not the performance I wanted to show,” said the the ISU Grand Prix Final champion. “I will continue to work and hope not to be unhappy with my performance again. The double Axel was not good and the combination wasn’t good either. I know I can do it better. You feel different every time, but I was not especially nervous. I didn’t feel much pressure.”

Trusova struggled in her “Games of Thrones” routine, falling on the quad flip and quad Lutz that were both underrotated. The two-time World Junior champion also doubled the toe, but then pulled herself together to land a quad toe-Euler-triple Salchow combination, as well as three more triple jumps. The ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist picked up 149.88 points in the Free Skate and remained in third place at 226.34 points.

“I’m not pleased with my performance,” said Trusova. “I will work and hope it will work out next time. I always get to skate last at Russian Nationals and that means pressure for me, because I don’t like to skate last. I was more nervous, because this is a qualifying competition.”

The 15-year-old now wants to learn the quad loop and attempt it by the end of the season.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva showed courage and went for the quad toe that she only recently landed in practice. However, she underrotated the jump and fell and also underrotated the triple Axel and triple flip. The 2015 World Champion was ranked ninth in the free skate, but remained in fourth overall at 204.63 points.

“I am happy with fourth place, it is nice, because I often was lower at Russian Nationals in the past,” said the 23-year-old. “I am happy that I went for the quad toe and overall satisfied with the result. It was not my best performance. There were many mistakes, but I wanted to take a risk and fight until the end.”

Kseniia Sinitsyna climbed from 14th to fifth with an excellent performance to Indian music. She did not attempt a quad or triple Axel (202.96 points). Anna Frolova finished sixth with a strong and flawless program at 199.29 points.

Medvedeva, who stood in fifth after the short program and who’s right skating boot had broken during practice on Thursday, withdrew before the Free Skating.

“These things happen,” said the 23-year-old. “I taped the boot and it was enough for yesterday (in the Short Program). We did everything possible and there was no talk about withdrawing until this morning practice. It did not work at all. I think it would have been dangerous to try to compete in these boots.”

The 2019 World bronze medalist announced that she will skate in shows and then prepare for next season. She also revealed that her free skate for next season will be to “Alegría” from Cirque du Soleil.