Two-time and reigning World Champions Wenjing Sui/Cong Han of China ruled on home ice and won the Shiseido Cup of China in Chongqing on Saturday with almost 30 points to spare ahead of teammates Cheng Peng/Yang Jin. Canada’s Liubov Ilyushechkina/Charlie Bilodeau earned the bronze, their first Grand Prix medal as a team.
Convincing victories in the Free Skating and the Short Program sealed gold for Sui/Han (CHN) with 30 points to spare © International Skating Union
Skating last, Sui/Han impressed with an exquisite performance to 'Rain, In Your Black Eyes' by Ezio Bosso. The Olympic silver medalists produced a triple twist, side-by-side triple toe-double toe, throw triple Slachow and flip as well as difficult lifts two of which garnered a level four. Han doubled the side-by-side Salchow. The multiple Four Continents champions scored 147.47 points and took the title with 228.37 points.
“The Salchow was not so consistent after my injury, but when we came here it was at 90 percent in practice. I think I lost concentration and therefore made a mistake,” Han said.
“We have now one week before our next event NHK Trophy (in Japan) and I think it is important to organize our training in this time. Our choreographer Lori Nichol will come with us and we’ll mainly work on the short program,” he continued.
Runners-up Cheng Peng and Yang Jin (CHN) say they have plenty to work on before the GP final in Turin © International Skating Union
Peng/Jin’s performance to the 'Cloud Atlas' soundtrack was highlighted by a triple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow. However, they struggled with the side by side triple toeloop-double toeloop combination. The Skate America Champions posted a season’s best with 131.47 points and totaled 199.97 points. With a gold and a silver from their two events, the couple has qualified for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.
“We had some problems at Skate America and Cup of China in our programs with the solo jumps and the throw jumps, the quality was not so good. We also need more speed in the second half. These are the things we want to work on before the final,” Jin explained.
Ilyushechkina/Bilodeau completed a triple twist and innovate lifts – especially the last one with her doing a handstand on his hands - in their routine to 'Je voudrais voir la mer'. The new team earned 121.45 points which added up to 190.73 points overall.
“It means a lot to us to have won a medal in only our second Grand Prix together. It shows that it was a good decision to come back and to skate together. We have been skating together only for eight months. When we get home, we’ll work on many things to continue the season with good programs and to improve,” Bilodeau commented.
Ilyushechkina/Bilodeau (right) joined the Chinese pairs on the podium in only their second Grand Prix as a team © International Skating Union
2018 ISU Grand Prix Finalists Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise (ITA) remained in fourth place on 182.88 points. 2018 Four Continents bronze medalists Tae Ok Ryom/Ju Sik Kim (PRK) moved up from eighth to fifth place on 179.55 points.
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