European Champion Carolina Kostner (ITA) takes Ladies title
Carolina Kostner of Italy skated to victory at NHK Trophy Saturday. Rachael Flatt (USA) came in second and Japan's World Junior Champion Kanako Murakami earned the bronze medal in her debut at the senior Grand Prix.
Overnight leader Kostner skated last and gave an elegant performance to “L'après midi d'un faun” by Claude Debussy. The three-time and reigning European Champion landed four triple jumps and a double Axel, but a triple loop-double toe was underrotated. Kostner scored 107.34 points for this performance and totaled 164.61. “I'm very happy and surprised”, the Italian skater revealed. “I had a lot of fun skating, but I did a lot of little mistakes and so I was not expecting to win tonight.”
Flatt opened her routine to “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” with a double Axel-triple toeloop combination followed by a triple Lutz-double toe and three more clean triples. The U.S. Champion edged out Kostner narrowly on 0.01 points to win the Free Skating portion and overall moved up to second at 161.04 points. “I'm very excited to have medalled at my first senior Grand Prix this season. I certainly look forward to improving”, said Flatt.
Murakami, who stood in second place after the short program, nailed a triple toe-triple toe combination right out of the gate in her program to “The Mask of Zorro”, but missed three jumps and slipped to third at 150.16 points. “I met my goal of making the podium, so I'm very happy about that, but regarding tonight's skating, I'm not very satisfied with it. Hopefully next time I'll have a more satisfying performance and will be on the podium”, offered Murakami.
World Champion Mao Asada (JPN) remained in 8th place after making errors on most jumps.