Loena Hendrickx ahead of Russians after short program, Boyang Jin leads men’s event

Loena Hendrickx at the 2021 Grand Prix of Italy. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

Following the last weekend’s dominant performances by all of the favorite, the first day of the third stage of this season’s International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix series – the 2021 Grand Prix of Italy – began with a few unexpected results – including Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx placing ahead of all the Russian women and China’s Boyang Jin, Italy’s Daniel Grassl, and South Korea’s Junhwan Cha taking the unexpected top three in the men’s event.

Fifth at the 2021 World Championships and three-time Belgian national champion, Loena Hendrickx celebrated her birthday with a surprise first place after the short program in Turin. The 22-year-old began her performance with a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination and later landed a double axel and a triple flip. Skating to an Italian song – Caruso by Lucio Dalla – Hendrickx received a new personal best short program score of 73.52 points.

Winner of las months Budapest Trophy competition in Hungary, 15-year-old Russian representative Maiia Khromykh successfully made her debut on the senior ISU Grand Prix circuit. Performing to I’ll Take Care of You by Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa, Khromykh opened her routine with a double axel. She also landed a triple Lutz and a triple flip-triple toe loop combination. Khromykh received a score of 72.04 points for second place.

2021 World champion Anna Shcherbakova made a crucial error in her short program presentation, which kept her from leading the event, but remains the top favorite heading into the free skate. The 17-year-old Russian figure skater successfully landed her opening double axel and triple flip but then was unable to complete her usual high-scoring triple Lutz-triple loop combination – instead settling for a triple Lutz-double toe loop combination. Nevertheless, Shcherbakova received all positive grades of execution and earned the highest program component score – receiving a total performance score of 71.73 points, almost ten points lower than her all-time best score.

Results after short program:

  1. Loena HENDRICKX (BEL) – 73.52
  2. Maiia KHROMYKH (RUS) – 72.04
  3. Anna SHCHERBAKOVA (RUS) – 71.73
  4. Satoko MIYAHARA (JPN) – 70.85
  5. Mai MIHARA (JPN) – 70.46
  6. Eunsoo LIM (KOR) – 67.03
  7. Yelim KIM (KOR) – 62.78
  8. Yi ZHU (CHN) – 60.00
  9. Sofia SAMODUROVA (RUS) – 58.68
  10. Nicole SCHOTT (GER) – 58.33
  11. Lara Naki GUTMANN (ITA) – 54.83
  12. Lucrezia BECCARI (ITA) – 53.35

Judges’ Scores

Boyang Jin at the 2021 Grand Prix of Italy. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

At what was originally scheduled to be the Cup of China, two-time World bronze medalist Boyang Jin delivered a strong short program at the Grand Prix of Italy and led a – some might say – surprising top three, along with home favorite Daniel Grassl and South Korea’s Junhwan Cha.

Skating to music from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Jin began his short program routine with two quad jumping sequences – a quad Lutz in a combination with a triple toe loop and a solo quad toe loop. His triple axel was also successful. The 24-year-old five-time Chinese national champion received a score of 97.89 points – his highest result at a non-domestic competition in a while.

Seventh at Skate America two weeks ago, Daniel Grassl began his performance at his home competition with a quad Lutz and then completed a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination and a triple axel. Performing to music from The White Crow, the 19-year-old three-time Italian national champion received a new personal best short program score of 95.67 points and took second place.

Bronze medalist at the 2019-2019 ISU Grand Prix Final, Junhwan Cha began his first competition of the season with a promising short program performance and is currently in third place. The five-time South Korean national champion has not medaled at an international competition since December 2018 but is in prime position to change that this weekend. The 20-year-old landed a quad Salchow to begin his performance on Friday, later successfully completing a difficult triple Lutz-triple loop combination and a triple axel. He received a slight negative grade of execution on the axel but earned a total score of 95.56 points for the performance.

Results after short program:

  1. Boyang JIN (CHN) – 97.89
  2. Daniel GRASSL (ITA) – 95.67
  3. Junhwan CHA (KOR) – 95.56
  4. Mikhail KOLYADA (RUS) – 92.30
  5. Deniss VASILJEVS (LAT) – 85.09
  6. Kazuki TOMONO (JPN) – 83.91
  7. Yuma KAGIYAMA (JPN) – 80.53
  8. Yudong CHEN (CHN) – 78.79
  9. Petr GUMENNIK (RUS) – 76.81
  10. Dmitri ALIEV (RUS) – 71.07
  11. Paul FENTZ (GER) – 57.17
  12. Gabriele FRANGIPANI (ITA) – 55.09

Judges’ Scores

Wenjing Sui and Cong Han at the 2021 Grand Prix of Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

Winners of last weekend’s Skate Canada, Chinese pair Wenjing Sui and Cong Han got right back to the work this week and even improved as they earned over a point more for their short program in Turin than in Vancouver.

The 2018 Olympic silver medalists and two-time World champions successfully completed all of their technical elements – landing side-by-side triple toe loops, Sui completed the triple flip throw, and the pair executed the triple twist lift for over two points grade of execution. Sui and Han received a score of 80.07 points for their short program performance.

Two-time Four Continents champions Cheng Peng and Yang Jin also delivered a strong performance. The second Chinese duo started their short program routine with a triple twist lift and then successful side-by-side triple toe loops. Peng successfully landed a triple loop throw. The pair received a new personal best short program result of 76.71 points and are currently in second position.

Third after the short program are six-time Italian national champions Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise. Both skaters fell on their opening side-by-side triple Salchows but were impressive in the remainder of their routine. Skating on their home ice, Della Monica and Guarise received a score of 65.12 points for the performance.

Results after short program:

  1. Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN (CHN) – 80.07
  2. Cheng PENG / Yang JIN (CHN) – 76.71
  3. Nicole DELLA MONICA / Matteo GUARISE (ITA) – 65.12
  4. Iuliia ARTEMEVA / Mikhail NAZARYCHEV (RUS) – 61.90
  5. Rebecca GHILARDI / Filippo AMBROSINI (ITA) – 60.89
  6. Sara CONTI / Niccolo MACII (ITA) – 54.55
  7. Alina PEPELEVA / Roman PLESHKOV (RUS) – 52.72
  8. Annika HOCKE / Robert KUNKEL (GER) – 49.16

Judges’ Scores

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron at the 2021 Grand Prix of Italy. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

In the ice dance event, four-time World champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron were about two and a half points shy of their own world record for the rhythm dance with a spectacular performance to John Legend’s Made to Love and U Move, I Move. The French duo received a score of 87.45 points for their presentation.

Three-time United States national champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were victorious two weeks ago at Skate America but managed to improve on their score in Italy – they earned 84.79 points for their performance. Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin were third in their 2021-2022 season debut. The 2021 Russian national champions earned a score of 81.47 points.

Results after rhythm dance:

  1. Gabriella PAPADAKIS / Guillaume CIZERON (FRA) – 87.45
  2. Madison HUBBELL / Zachary DONOHUE (USA) – 84.79
  3. Alexandra STEPANOVA / Ivan BUKIN (RUS) – 81.47
  4. Caroline GREEN / Michael PARSONS (USA) – 75.60
  5. Shiyue WANG / Xinyu LIU (CHN) – 73.28
  6. Evgeniia LOPAREVA / Geoffrey BRISSAUD (FRA) – 67.31
  7. Katharina MUELLER / Tim DIECK (GER) – 63.41
  8. Carolane SOUCISSE / Shane FIRUS (CAN) – 63.40
  9. Hong CHEN / Zhuoming SUN (CHN) – 62.37
  10. Carolina MOSCHENI / Francesco FIORETTI (ITA) – 55.79

Judges’ Scores

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