By Michelle Kennedy, special to Figure Skaters Online
Header photo by Robin Ritoss
The ladies delivered some great short program performances. In the end, it was Satoko Miyahara, from Japan, who took the lead, with her teammate close behind her.
Miyahara has a polished quality about her that set her apart from the rest of the ladies. Her ability to express and connect with her music as well as deliver some beautiful elements is spectacular. Miyahara opened with a fantastic triple lutz-triple toe and only grew stronger as the program progressed.
“Until I finished my three jumps, I was very nervous because I couldn’t do my best performance at the Japan Open, so I was so nervous,” Miyahara confessed. “But after the flip, I was really relieved, and I skated like myself.”
Currently holding onto second place is Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto. Sakamoto is only two points behind Miyahara after skating a lovely performance to “From My First Moment” by Charlotte Church.
“I was able to practice really hard, especially for the Grand Prix,” Sakamoto said. “After Lombardia, with the help of my coach, I was able to train and I’m doing my best and I would like to continue doing my best.”
Sofia Samodurova from Russia was the first to skate and yet she is in third place heading into the free skate. At 16 years-old, this is Sofia’s first senior Grand Prix event. She delivered a strong performance skating with confidence and poise. Samodurova was pleasantly surprised to find herself in third place and skating in the final group during the free skate on Sunday.
2018 U.S. Champion Bradie Tennell opened with what was supposed to be a triple lutz-triple loop, but the timing was off and she turned the loop into a single. Her new short program is a bit of a departure from what we have seen from her previously, yet it was refreshing. Tennell is currently sitting in fifth place heading into the free skate.
American Megan Wessenburg had a strong Grand Prix debut and is right behind Tennell in sixth, while Starr Andrews dropped to ninth after falling on her double axel. No doubt that the American ladies will be looking for redemption in the free skate.