The ladies short program unfolded just about as expected except for the surprisingly strong placement from Canadian Jennifer Robinson. She had one of the three clean skates of the night, with Michelle Kwan and Silvia Fontana having the other two.
Kwan again presented her short program well, landing all four jumps cleanly. Her presentation was first rate though perhaps a bit slow in a few places compared to Skate America last week. She received marks of 5.5 to 5.8 in the first mark and 5.7-5.9 in the second mark. This number is an audience pleaser as well, and brought the otherwise highly partisan Canadian crowd to their feet in a standing ovation.
Robinson skated well, avoiding deductions but not a few quality issues. Her opening double Axel was clean and was followed by a triple Lutz - double toe loop with a marginal landing on the Lutz. Following her combination spin she landed a triple loop with a bit of reach and another marginal landing edge. The major strength of the program was the presentation which expressed well the melodic, romantic music she choose. The choice also served her well by hiding her usual lack of speed by allowing the construction of a program for which rapid skating would not have been appropriate to the music. Her second marks were 0.2 to 0.4 higher than her first marks, and rightly so.
Julia Soldatova started off the short with a clean triple Lutz - double toe loop combination, but then subsequently fell on triple flip. The remainder of the program was clean and skated well but the required deduction of 0.4 dropped her below the clean skating Robinson. The two skaters were fairly close in the second mark and the error was all the difference in the result.
Julia Sebestyen, who skated respectably at Skate America, placed fourth with another strong performance here. Her opening triple Lutz - double toe loop combination was the strongest of the evening with impresive height and her spin combination (camel - sit - layback - change foot - camel - Bauil - half Biellmann - full Biellmann) was noteworthy also. A fall on triple flip, however, also cost her a 0.4 deduction. The 18-year-old from Budapest has come along nicely since last year and with some further refinements in her presentation should do well at Worlds this year.
They third clean skate of the night was turned in by Silvia Fontana. Her combination, however, was only a double-double (Lutz and toe loop) which accounts for her placement. Her Latin number was lively and energetic, and her combination spin (camel - half Biellmann - layback - change foot - sit - forward Biellmann) was perhaps the best of the evening.
Amber Corwin placed seventh skating to the war-horse "Take Five" she has used for the last two years. She landed double Lutz - double toe loop and had a weak landing edge out of the double Axel. She fell on triple flip and her straight line step sequence may have been short. Given her lack of speed and the flat presentation, perhaps it is time to retire this number and find new music that will get her energized.
Like the men the day before, the top ladies who skated at Skate America last week did not perform as well here as there. After the event Michelle Kwan rated her skate here a 6 to 7 compared to a 9 1/2 last week, while Julia Soldatova called it a 6 here compared to a 7 last week.
Kwan opened with double Axel and triple Lutz - double toe loop. The triple-triple she landed last week was a double-double (toe loops) this time. She landed triple Salchow and triple flip then fell on triple loop and doubled the Lutz. She closed with an improvised triple toe loop. Overall, her skating was slower than Skate America and it showed in presentation, nevertheless it was still well done and well above the others skating here. Said Kwan, "I wasn't really happy with my program. I had a lot of omissions. I could have been tougher out there."
Julia Soldatova moved up to second with a program in which she landed three triples. She was successful with triple Salchow - double toe loop and triple flutz - double toe loop but then fell on triple flip and two-footed triple loop. Following a double Axel into double toe loop sequence she landed triple toe loop but fell on triple Salchow. She ended with a flying camel spin, circular step sequence and a nice combination spin. Like Kwan she was slower than at Skate America. She described her program by saying. " I was pleased with the first half. I was ready, but the second half wasn't quite ready yet. It will be ready for the next competition."
Canadian Jennifer Robinson held onto a spot on the podium by placing third in the free skate and third overall. She landed four triple jumps; two Salchows, a loop, and a toe loop. She two-footed and stepped out of triple Lutz twice, and singled a flip. Skating in a midnight blue dress, she again skated to a slow, emotional piece of music (from "Lentil") and did a fine job bringing it to the ice. She earned presentation marks of 5.0 to 5.4 in the process. Afterwards she said, "It wasn't perfect. I was a little bit nervous. I was a little bit dull on the Lutzes."
Amber Corwin moved up to fourth place with a decent skate that included four triples. She landed an opening triple loop - double toe loop combination, and a solo triple loop. She also completed triple toe loop and a triple Salchow - double toe loop combination. Her command of the triples through loop is secure but flip and Lutz bedeviled her this week.
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