Russian figure skating star Anna Shcherbakova has taken the lead at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Sweden, showing faultless skating in the women’s short program on Wednesday.
Shcherbakova outscored Japan’s Rika Kihira by almost two points, while one more representative of Russia, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, closes up the top three after the short program.
Tuktamysheva delivered a more than a solid skate, confidently coping with all her jumping elements, including her signature triple axel.
She nailed a triple lutz triple toe loop combo before perfectly rotating a triple flip.
The 24-year-old Russian received 78.86 points for her short program performance, confirming her ambitions to win a medal at the world championships following a six-year break.
Russia’s Alexandra Trusova didn’t risk including a newly-acquired triple axel, landing a double jump in the beginning of her program.
She then confidently threw a triple flip, but made a drastic error on her next jump – a triple lutz – which should have been in combination with a triple toe loop, an element she failed to execute.
This costly mistake seriously affected her final score making her drop in the standings. The score of 64.82 points which was far below Trusova’s best result and put the skater in a disappointing 12th place.
Shcherbakova, who presented her short program right after Trusova, confirmed her status of the main favorite by displaying some immaculate skating on Wednesday.
The 16-year-old flawlessly landed all of her jumps, including a rarely-seen triple lutz-triple loop combo which she placed in the second part of the program.
The Russian champion was the sole skater to overcome the 80-point mark, receiving 81 points for her near-perfect routine.
Japan’s champion Kihira showed powerful skating, perfectly coping with her impressive technical content.
She opened her program with a solid triple axel, which the judges considered to be under-rotated. They noticed the same mistake on her triple flip triple toe loop combo, reducing her technical score which initially was higher than Shcherbakova’s result.
Medalists in the women’s event will be awarded on Friday, after athletes will show their free programs.