Ice Network

Chock, Bates clinch first trip to Grand Prix Final

Spain's Fernández takes gold medal to punch ticket to Final
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Madison Chock and Evan Bates will head to the Grand Prix Final after winning gold at the 2014 Rostelecom Cup. -Getty Images

The 2014 Rostelecom Cup concluded in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday with the ladies, pairs and men's free skates and the free dance.

Ladies

Rika Hongo of Japan skated to the ladies gold medal, her first-ever medal in a Grand Prix event. Russia's Anna Pogorilaya claimed the silver medal, while overnight leader Alaine Chartrand of Canada settled for the bronze.

Skating to music from Carmen, Hongo completed five triples and two Level 4 spins as well as Level 4 footwork. However, two of her other triple jumps were under-rotated. The 18-year-old posted a new personal best with 118.15 points and totaled 178.00 points to win the title.

"I was able to skate very well, so I am very happy," Hongo said. "This is my first senior season. I have done a lot of research and analyzed with my coaches what I need to do more. This was one of the reasons why I was able to progress."

Pogorilaya's performance to "Firebird" was highlighted by a triple loop-half loop-triple Salchow as well as excellent spins, but some jumps were not clean. The Skate Canada champion earned 114.11 points, and with 173.43 points overall moved up one spot. With a gold and a silver from the circuit, the Russian skater qualified for the Grand Prix Final.

"It was not the best skate, but I got a colossal experience from this event," Pogorilaya said. "I already fulfilled one of my goals for the season -- to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. My task will be to calm down after this competition."

Chartrand produced difficult spins in her routine to music from Doctor Zhivago, but several jumps were under-rotated or two-footed. The Canadian still got a season-high score of 110.82 points and slipped to third at 172.00 overall.

"After being first in the short, I really wanted to stay on the podium. This is my first medal internationally. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but better than at Skate Canada. An improvement is always good," Chartrand said.

Team USA's Mirai Nagasu remained in fourth place with 165.88 points. American Ashley Cain finished eighth with 150.90 points, and her teammate, Angela Wang, finished ninth with 150.75 points.

Men's

Spain's Javier Fernández struck gold in the men's event. Russia's Sergei Voronov earned the silver medal, and Michal Březina of the Czech Republic took bronze.

Performing to The Barber of Seville, Fernández nailed a quadruple toe and four triple jumps, but his two quad Salchows were not clean. The European champion picked up a Level 4 for two spins and a Level 3 for the footwork to score a season-high 171.09 points. He accumulated 265.01 points overall. With a first and second place in his Grand Prix events, Fernández has booked a ticket to the Grand Prix Final in his home country.

"I tried my best. It was an important competition for me for the Grand Prix Final. Some landings and the loop didn't happen perfectly, but I fought in the program from the beginning to the end," the Spaniard said.

Voronov's free featured a quadruple-triple loop combination, two triple Axels and three other triples as well as strong spins and footwork. The European silver medalist scored 161.67 points, which added up to a 252.00 total.

"Compared to yesterday, there was some anxiety today. I could not avoid hearing what was going on on the TV, and I was tight. Therefore, I didn't go for the second quad toe, but I will try it in my second Grand Prix in Japan," he said.

Březina pulled off a quad Salchow-double toe combination and five triples, including two triple Axels in his program to The Marriage of Figaro to score a season's best of 160.34 points. He moved up from fourth to third with 241.23 points.seas

Team USA's Jason Brown placed fifth with 235.56 points. His teammate, Max Aaron, came in seventh with 212.60 points. American Stephen Carriere was ninth with 201.24.

Pairs

Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov skated off with the gold medal and led a Russian sweep in the pairs event. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took the silver medal, and the bronze went to newcomers Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov.

Stolbova and Klimov opened their program to Notre Dame de Paris with a triple twist and followed up with a beautiful throw triple flip. The world silver medalists also completed a triple toe combination, a double Axel and difficult lifts, and ended with a big throw triple Salchow. The Olympic silver medalists scored 142.88 points and racked up 211.97 points overall to win the first Grand Prix gold medal of their career.

"We are overall satisfied; almost everything worked out. There is always something to improve, but most elements worked. We are happy to have skated well and to have finished first for the first time," Klimov said.

Tarasova and Morozov impressed with their huge triple twist and their lifts in their program to "Hello" by Lionel Richie, but he missed the solo jumps and she fell on the throw triple loop. The world junior silver medalists ranked fifth in the free skate with 106.50 points, but overall held on to second place with 173.78 points.

"We are not pleased with our performance because we missed many elements, even some where we didn't expect mistakes. We need to continue to work on our free program," Tarasova said.

Astakhova and Rogonov's routine to the soundtrack of The Master and Margarita included a side-by-side triple Salchow, throw triple flip and loop, but he struggled with an Axel lasso lift that received no value. The team earned 106.52 points and clinched the bronze with 164.86 points.

"First of all, we are happy that Kristina and I had a debut [at the Grand Prix]. We dealt with our program and we did many elements, but for some of them we had to fight," Rogonov noted.

Team USA's Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier were edged off the podium by .01 points and finished fourth. Their teammates, Jessica Calalang and Zack Sidhu, came in fifth with 157.45 points.

Ice Dance

Team USA's Madison Chock and Evan Bates danced to the gold medal. Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin of Russia earned the silver, and Great Britain's Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland secured the bronze.

Chock and Bates collected a Level 4 for the lifts, twizzles and spins and a Level 3 for the step sequences in their dance to An American in Paris. The Skate America champions set a new personal-best score of 105.42 points and accumulated 174.28 points overall. With two victories in their two events, the Americans qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the first time.

"We just evaluate our performance based on our last performance, and so looking back at Skate America, this was definitely a step up. It felt like a stronger performance. We gained higher levels, so technically it was better, but also emotionally it felt stronger," Bates shared.

"We are so thrilled to be going to the Final. This is our first Grand Prix Final together. I think this is good way going into the Final. We've been building some momentum," Chock added.

Ilinykh and Zhiganshin's dance to "Appassionata" and "Anthony and Cleopatra" included Level 4 twizzles and Level 3 footwork, but their combination spin merited only a Level 1. The team ranked third in the free dance with a personal-best of 96.31 points but remained in second at 160.43 points overall.

"It was a bit hard today in the free dance, because it did not go without some minor errors. We tried to correct as much as possible the mistakes that we did in our previous competition and to pay more attention to this. Overall, I think we coped with the program," Zhiganshin said.

Coomes and Buckland delivered a strong free to "Butterflies and Hurricanes" by Muse that was highlighted by innovative lifts. The European bronze medalists produced five Level 4 elements and earned 98.47 points, a new personal best. They had 158.02 points overall.

Team USA's Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker finished sixth with 136.38 points, and teammates Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton finished seventh with 133.38 points.