Trusova wins first competition under new coach Plushenko

Alexandra Trusova produced a strong free skate to overhaul Kamila Valieva in Stage 2 of the Cup of Russia as Artem Kovalev secured back-to-back wins in Moscow.

By Rory Jiwani

Alexandra Trusova was at her quad-jumping best as she took victory in Stage 2 of figure skating's Cup of Russia in Moscow.

In her first competition since leaving coach Eteri Tutberidze for Evgeny Plushenko, the 16-year-old came out on top with a free skate score of 164.82 for a total of 240.59.

The twice world junior champion was only third overnight behind her 14-year-old former training partners Kamila Valieva and Daria Usacheva.

But reigning junior world champion Valieva made numerous jumping errors as she slipped to second with Usacheva completing the podium.

Trusova wows Moscow crowd

Kamila Valieva was the first to go of the top three from Saturday's short program.

Dancing to Ravel's Bolero, the music famously used by Sarajevo 1984 ice dance gold medallists Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, she had a nasty fall on her opening quad toe loop with her take-off clearly off-centre.

Her quad toe loop-double toe loop combination was better, as was a triple loop, but a second fall on a triple Lutz brought an anguished look from coach Tutberidze.

Even more costly was her putting both hands down on a second triple Lutz which should have been in combination thus losing her extra points for repetition.

Last year's Junior Grand Prix Final champion looked downcast as she stepped off the ice but she is still only 14 and therefore not eligible for senior competition for another year.

She scored 148.60 for the lead on 233.70 with her predecessor as world junior champion next to go.

Trusova had a hand down on her opening quad Lutz but was soon back on track with a stunning quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination followed by another quad toe loop.

Skating to music from the soundtrack of 'Romeo and Juliet', she showed stronger musical interpretation than in the past.

There was a fall on a triple Lutz-triple loop combination, but Trusova had the crowd rapt in a thrilling free skate.

She beamed broadly as Plushenko beckoned the crowd to give her more applause as she left the ice.

And she was smiling again as she received the scores which confirmed her victory over Valieva.

Also skating to 'Romeo and Juliet', Daria Usacheva produced an fluid display.

While lacking the quads of her rivals, the world junior silver medallist scored 152.81 to take second in the free skate and third overall with 233.20, just half a point behind her training partner.

Anna Frolova was fourth with 201.92 ahead of Stanislava Konstantinova on 196.83.

Kovalev secures back-to-back wins

Artem Kovalev lived up to his musical choice as he made it two wins out of two in figure skating's Cup of Russia in Moscow on Sunday (11 October).

The 17-year-old backed up his victory in Syzran three weeks ago thanks to a sensational skate to a medley of Queen songs starting with 'Don't Stop Me Now', landing two quads and two triple Axels - one in combination - to come out on top.

His free skate score of 171.97 gave him a total of 255.82, less than three points ahead of Alexander Samarin with Petr Gumennik taking third.

Overnight leader Evgeny Semenenko finished in fourth place.

Kovalev, coached by Alexander Volkov and Plushenko, is now guaranteed a spot in December's Russian Championships where he will be vying for a medal.

There are five Cup of Russia events with the top 12 in the men's singles qualifying for the nationals being held in Chelyabinsk.

Alexander Samarin moved up from fourth overnight to take second behind Artem Kovalev in Stage 2 of the Cup of Russia in Moscow

A typically powerful skate from Samarin saw the 2019 European silver medallist go top of the leaderboard momentarily.

The 22-year-old showed he meant business with an opening triple Axel-triple toe loop and while he struggled to maintain that high jumping standard throughout, he was largely clean in his dance to Jonathan Roy's 'Keeping Me Alive'.

Despite not attempting any quad jumps, he scored 170.33 for a total of 253.10.

After a slightly disappointing short program, Gumennik showed why he won a bronze at March's World Junior Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.

He generated incredible height on his opening quad Salchow and, bar a fall on a triple Axel having landed the jump earlier in combination, this was a clean and vibrant routine to 'Phantom of the Opera' which delighted the crowd.

His score of 169.95, just behind Samarin, was something of a surprise as he moved into second for the time being with 249.46.

Semenenko, in first place after the short program, was unable to sustain that form in the free skate.

He landed a quad Salchow to start but fell on a quad toe loop and his jumping was somewhat sketchy after that.

He scored 163.22 for a total of 249.05 and third place with Kovalev up next.

The Muscovite was clearly in the mood as he opened with a superb quad Salchow-double toe loop combination followed by a quad Salchow.

While he was not foot-perfect, Kovalev did land a triple Axel-triple toe loop combination and a triple Axel on its own which was quite superb.

His score of 171.97 was almost 25 points better than his ISU personal best and secured him his second Cup of Russia title.


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