Artem Kovalev wins at the second stage of the Cup of Russia

Artem Kovalev (Photo by Olga Timokhova/@aliz_red_skating)

Two young skaters led the men’s event from the beginning to the end. Evgeny Semenko entered Sunday with the lead after the short program and then Artem Kovalev delivered a fantastic performance in the free skate to win gold at the second stage of the Cup of Russia series in Moscow.

Winner of the first stage last month, Kovalev skated to music by Queen and landed an opening quad Salchow-double toe loop combination, followed by a quad Salchow. He stormed his way into first place after being second heading into the evening. With Evgeny Plushenko and Alexander Volkov by the boards, the 17-year-old performed two clean programs in this competition and earned a total score of 255.82 points.

Former medalist at the European Championship, Alexander Samarin entered the free skate having announced that he would not attempt any quad jumps as he is still recovering from an injury. He landed his opening triple axel-triple toe loop attempt and followed up with solid landings on the remaining jumps. As always, the 22-year-old received a high total program component score – 89.20 points – and placed second with a total score of 253.10 points.

Silver medalist at last season’s Russian Junior National Championship, Petr Gumennik started his free skate by nailing a quad Salchow. The 18-year-old fell awkwardly on his triple axel attempt but performed a triple axel-double toe loop-double loop and later a triple Lutz-triple loop combination. He successfully landed the rest of him jumping sequences; in addition to a good total program component score in the eighties, Gumennik earned a total score of 249.46 points. He finished third, having been fifth after the short program.

Leader after the short program, Semenko fell off the podium. He started his free skate with an excellent quad Salchow and attempted a quad toe loop next but could not stay upright and fell. Semenko received good program component scores but less difficult jumping sequences eventually cost him. He received a total of 249.05 points and end up fourth, just over six points behind first place.

As in the short program, Artem Lezheev did not try a quadruple jump. Opening with a triple axel-triple toe loop combination, Lezheev settled for triple jumps but was unable to avoid falls this time. In third place going into the free skate, the athlete received a total score of 224.74 points and fell to fifth position.

Skating to You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban, former World Junior champion Aleksey Erohov started his free skate with a great quad Salchow and then a good triple axel but made a few costly errors – he repeated a triple axel and performed a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination twice. He earned a total score of 219.16 points and improved to sixth position, having been eighth after the short program.

Seventh after the short program, 24-year-old Anton Shulepov skated to music from the film Inception and capitalized on his strong artistry but struggled on his jump attempts. An under-rotated opening quad Lutz, a doubled toe loop in a combination, and two repeated triple Lutz jumps cost the skater. He earned a total score of 201.52 points and remained in seventh place.

Just as in his short program performance, Mark Kondratyuk fell on his opening quad attempt. As opposed to the first program, this time Kondratyuk struggled to maintain his composure and singled an axel afterwards, fell on a triple Lutz, and doubled both jumps in an axel-Euler-Salchow combination. Sixth after the short program, Kondratyuk received a total score of 197.92 points and fell to eighth position.

Nikita Vakhrushev, who struggled in the short program, had difficulties again in the free skate. The first half of this program was solid but he fell on the fourth jumping sequence – a triple flip – and was shaky from then on. He received a total score of 151.38 points and ended up ninth.

Full results:

  1. Artem Kovalev – 255.82
  2. Alexander Samarin – 253.10
  3. Petr Gumennik – 249.46
  4. Evgeny Semenko – 249.05
  5. Artem Lezheev – 224.74
  6. Alexey Erohov – 219.16
  7. Anton Shulepov – 201.52
  8. Mark Kondratyuk – 197.92
  9. Nikita Vakhrushev – 151.38

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