Shcherbakova seals Russia’s first World Team Trophy victory

Osaka, Japan

World champion Anna Shcherbakova won the women’s free skate on Saturday to seal Russia’s first-ever victory at the figure skating World Team Trophy.

First after the short program, the 17-year-old Shcherbakova opened with a quadruple flip and followed with a triple flip-triple toe loop combination en route to a score of 160.58 points.

Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto moved up to second place with 150.29 points after an impressive Matrix routine that included five triple jumps.

Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva was third with 146.23 points. The result of the women’s free skate ensured Russia, with 125 points, would win its first World Team Trophy.

The United States — the defending champion — was second with 110 followed by Japan with 107.

Only the United States and Japan have won previous World Team Trophy competitions, first held in 2009. Team USA has four victories and Japan has two.

The biennial World Team Trophy features the six best figure skating teams from the 2020-21 season.

“To finally be in first place means a lot to us,” Tuktamysheva said. “This is a little practice (for) the Olympic Games. It is important to have World Team Trophy before the Olympic Games, now we know what to do.”

U.S. national champion Bradie Tennell delivered a solid performance but under-rotated a few jumps. She placed fourth with 133.19 points. Compatriot Karen Chen finished sixth with 127.24 points.

Teams from Japan, the United States, Canada, France, Russia and Italy competed. Italy was fourth with 72 points followed by France with 67 and Canada with 57.

Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov of Russia won the pairs free skating with 151.59 points.—AP