Well, I have to be honest- I did not see this one coming. After their performance at Skate America, I didn't pick Stolbova/Klimov to make it to the top of the podium this week. Luckily for them, their elements looked much improved and she looked slightly less angry at life after their performances this week. I still think there is something going on because they have no connection at all, but they got it done here. Luckily for him, she was the one who made mistakes in the free : ) This first place finish should actually get them into the Final. It will be very interesting to see if they can improve even further before then, which I think they need to do to contend at that event.
Congrats also to Yuka Kavaguti/Alexander Smirnov on making it to the Final with a second place finish here. I thought that overall they looked a bit sloppier here than Cup of China, but I give them credit for sticking with their two quad attempts in the free skate. Hopefully they can also get all those elements cleaned up so they can have a strong showing in the Final. Overall, this was a better outing for Peng/Zhang and it was nice to finally see their free skate. I read on Twitter that they didn’t have a chance to do any training in between their two back-to-back events because of the travel, so I can see why they may be a bit shaky on some of their elements. I love their free skate costumes and their quad twist looked great. I would like to see them get to the FInal, but it doesn’t look like the numbers will work out in their favor. Hopefully we see them at Four Continents, looking much stronger.
Fourth place was a great result for Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea, and they really had a strong free skate without a quad attempt. For their first season on the GP, they had a strong showing. The battle between them and Castelli/Tran for the second World team pairs spot at U.S. Nationals is going to be intense. It was good to Marchei/Hotarek come back strong after his concussion. I’m not saying anything that hasn’t already been said, but that free skate music selection is SO BAD that even she barely pulls it off lol. This was a sad finish for Canadian pair Moore-Towers/Marinaro. I am sure they were looking to build on their success from Skate Canada, but unfortunately they couldn’t. They have a tough battle in front of them at their National Championships, where they’ll battle Seguin/Bilodeau for that silver medal. Though Canada has 3 World spots, so they could both make the team.
Stolbova/Klimov and Kavaguti/Smirnoff join Sui/Han as qualified for the Final. Next week at NHK, Duhamel/Radford can clinch their spot, asScimeca/Knierim, Yu/Jin and James/Cipres battle it out for the remaining two. It will be an exciting fight!
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