Pairs’ Free Skate
Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii maintained their lead after the Short Program to win the Pairs’ title in Graz, Austria, on Friday evening. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov edged out Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin for a repeat silver, while Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise maintained fourth place overall.
Boikova and Kozlovskii delivered a powerful and dynamic routine to “The Writing On The Wall,” which was flawless. The Russian champions landed all jumping passes, including triple Salchows and a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, as well as a throw triple twist, triple flip, and triple loop. All three lifts and the pair combination spin was graded a level 4 and the team earned a new personal best of 152.24 for first in the free skate and overall (234.58).
“This was one of the hardest free skatings we’ve done recently,” said Kozlovskii. “I felt that (she got a bit lost) and I tried to pull her out of it. Usually, you focus on the difficult elements and other elements you do on autopilot, but today all elements demanded concentration and we’re happy we were able to deal with that specific pressure. It’s hard to say why this happened, there are many factors and they are different every time. We were in a difficult physical condition before our performance, and therefore had to focus and spend our energy to take one element at a time. We really had to fight for this performance.”
“I even forgot something in the middle of the program,” added Boikova. “The program overall looked as a whole, but for us, in our heads, it was separate parts.”
Tarasova and Morozov placed second (135.14) in the free skate after mistakes in their routine to “Te Amo.” Tarasova doubled her jump on the triple Salchows, while he stepped out, and she also fell on the triple toe, while he put a hand down on the same jump. Nevertheless, the two-time world silver medalists recovered to produce a solid throw triple loop and throw triple Salchow. The combination spin and lifts were graded a level 4, and with a total score of 208.64, they took second place.
“Today, it was hard to skate,” said Morozov. “The good thing is that the arena was full and we could feel the support. Now we plan to go to Moscow, first, for some practical matters. Also we are going to perform in a show. Then we come back to Florida to prepare for Worlds.”
Pavliuchenko and Khodykin put out an excellent performance with the exception of a fall on a throw triple flip. The 2018 World Junior champions earned a level 4 with many positive grades of execution (GOE) for their triple twist, as well as their lifts and spin. The throw triple loop was good and they also landed triple toe-double toe-double toes to score a new personal best of 131.61. However, with a total score of 206.53, it was not enough to maintain second and they slipped to third overall.
“We are satisfied with our performance expect for one small mistake and one big mistake,” said Pavliuchenko. “We’ve gained a lot of experience here. We will go home, have some rest and then think about Worlds.”
“Bad things happen, today it just happened,” Khodykin said of the fall.
“I learned how not to be too calm,” he added, when asked what he learned at this event. “At the last competition, I was too calm and relaxed. Here, this calmness started to bother me, so I was trying to prepare myself differently.”
Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise showed good presence in their routine to “Pilgrims On a Long Journey” and “Saturn,” which featured good lifts and a throw triple loop. However, she fell on the triple Salchows, while he stepped out, and she also two-footed the landing of a throw triple Salchow. Despite the mistakes, the five-time national champions scored a new season’s best of 123.96 four fourth place in the free skate and overall (194.44).
“It was not clean,” noted Della Monica. “I was struggling with my legs. It was hard for me to calm down, but the marks were good. It was not a bad competition overall.”
“We felt a lot of pressure, something not going with the brain and body,” added Guarise. “It was a technical program. The season was tough and we thought about a lot of things and it was not automatic. Today we felt it. We skated a very good short and had a good practice today, but from the beginning, before the first element, we had problems. But we cheered each other on.”
Germany’s Minerva Fabienne Hase and Nolan Seegert finished fifth with a new personal best (120.48) in the free skate and overall (186.39) after their routine to “House of the Rising Sun.” The 2019 Rostelecom Cup bronze medalists produced a level 3 triple twist, triple toe-double toes, and good level 4 lifts, however, he fell on the triple Salchows and she two-footed the landing of the throw triple Salchow.
“It was not a good program,” admitted Hase. “We train better than that. Two throws on two feet is one throw too much. The rest was fine. I think beside the mistakes, it was a pretty good program.”
Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer of Austria had a rough skate. The triple twist catch was messy and Ziegler singled the second jump in the triple toe-double toe-double toes. Kiefer fell on the triple Salchows, while she fell on the throw triple Salchow, and the team from Kuchl remained in sixth overall (177.41).
“We are disappointed that we couldn’t show what we are capable of and what we already did in the first half of the season,” said Ziegler. “The Germans left the door wide open, so with a normal free skate like we do it in practice, we could have taken the lead at this stage and meet our goal, which was a top-five finish. Sometimes we lacked concentration a bit and we felt more pressure today. I would love to go out and do it all again, but in the end, we want to take many positive things from this experience. This sixth place is still the best result in our career.”
“I couldn’t get all the way behind Miriam, so I think I was a little in her way when I threw her,” said Kiefer of the throw triple Salchow. “In the end, there were a few mistakes too much. Nevertheless, we were able to enjoy our skate in front of our home crowd. We will keep working hard for Worlds and defend our top ten result there.”
Germany’s Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel suffered a fall on the triple Salchows and throw triple Salchow, but still managed a new personal best for seventh in the free skate and overall (107.67/166.10).
“It was so much fun!” said Hocke. “I think Robert can be very happy. I am almost happy. It’s a pity about the mistake on the Salchow. It usually takes off well. It disturbed the overall performance a bit. Nevertheless, I am super proud of what we achieved in this short period of skating together. We will skate at the Junior Worlds for sure and we might also qualify for Worlds, but this decision has not been taken yet by the federation.”
Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini placed eighth (156.74), followed by Cleo Hamon and Denys Streakalin of France (153.49) and Ioulia Chtchetinina and Mark Magyar of Hungary (151.50).