Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 NHK Trophy: Ladies Preview

We waited so patiently for the start of the Grand Prix season and I can't believe we're already halfway through!  For five of these ladies, NHK Trophy is their first event, but the other five have already competed. This will be another early morning event for those of us in the US as the ladies skate their short Friday Nov. 11th at 5:15 a.m. EST and their free Saturday Nov. 12th at 5:00 a.m. EST.
There are about six ladies who could take the title here, but I like Akiko Suzuki (JPN) to win her 1st Grand Prix event. She has good momentum coming off of a silver at Skate Canada where she stayed within striking distance of 1st, even with major mistakes in the short and errors in the free. She receives high PCS scores from the judges and if she is clean nobody can really beat her. That is, except for Mao Asada (JPN), 2-time World Champion who had a tough 2010-2011 season, with the exception of Silver at 2011 Four Continents. Mao spent a year "revamping her jumping technique" though that time seemed wasted with a poor showing at Worlds. If she skates to the best of her ability she'll be unbeatable in this event, but don't expect that to happen, especially in the first event of the season. Ashley Wagner (USA) put together two nearly flawless skates at Skate Canada, falling on only one jump in the free and earned the bronze, though she earned very low PCS scores in the short program. This says that the judges are either trying to keep her out of the medals or did not like that program. They awarded her much higher in the free, so she'll have to skate flawlessly technically to maximize her levels and GOE marks to keep herself in the medal hunt. Kiira Korpi (FIN) is making her season's debut at this event so we won't know what to expect from her, but she normally comes fully loaded with a triple-triple and usually earns high PCS marks. She won the GP of Paris last season so don't count her out of the medals. Agnes Zawadzki (USA) made a coaching change in the off season and I'm hoping she'll be packaged better with more grace and fluidity and better costuming, music, and choreography to help her earn the PCS marks to match her technical scores. If everything comes together she'll likely be on the podium. Then there is Alena Leonova (RUS) who has a very offbeat style that is polarizing to fans and judges. Her programs were messy at Skate Canada and she finished in 4th, but 2 clean runs could put her in the medal picture.

My Podium Predictions:
1) Akiko Suzuki (JPN)
2) Mao Asada (JPN)
3) Ashley Wagner (USA)

Competitive History:

Mao Asada (JPN)-6th 2011 Worlds, 2nd 2011 Four Continents, 5th 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 8th 2010 NHK Trophy, 1st 2010 Worlds, 2nd 2010 Winter Olympics; PB: 205.50 at 2010 Winter Olympics

Elene Gedevanishvili (GEO)-7th at 2011 Skate America, 2nd 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 10th 2011 Worlds, 8th 2011 Europeans, 7th 2010 Skate America, 6th 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 164.54 at 2010 Europeans

Shoko Ishikawa (JPN)-2nd 2011 O Nepela, 5th 2011 Winter Universiade, 1st 2010 NRW Trophy, 3rd 2009 Crystal Skate, 10th 2009 NHK Trophy; PB: 119.63 at 2009 NHK Trophy

Kiira Korpi (FIN)-9th 2011 Worlds, 3rd 2011 Europeans, 1st 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 4th 2010 NHK Trophy, 2nd 2010 Finlandia Trophy, 1st 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 169.74 at 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard at 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard

Alena Leonova (RUS)-4th at 2011 Skate Canada, th 2011 Worlds, 5th 2011 Europeans, 9th 2010 Cup of Russia, 3rd 2010 Cup of China, 1st 2010 Coup de Nice, 3rd 2010 Finlandia Trophy; PB: 183.92 at 2011 Worlds

Mae Berenice Meite (FRA)-1st 2011 O Nepela, 14th 2011 Worlds, 9th 2011 Europeans, 9th Trophee Eric Bompard, 8th 2010 Skate America, 3rd 2010 Coup de Nice, 7th 2010 Triglav Trophy; PB: 150.44 at 2011 Worlds

Cynthia Phaneuf (CAN)-7th at 2011 Skate Canada, 13th 2011 Worlds, 6th 2011 Four Continents, 4th 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 4th 2010 Skate Canada; PB: 177.54 at 2010 Worlds

Akiko Suzuki (JPN)-2nd at 2011 Skate Canada, 7th 2011 Four Continents, 1st 2011 Triglav Trophy, 5th 2010 Grand Prix Final, 2nd 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 2nd 2010 Cup of China; PB: 181.44 at 2010 Winter Olympics

Ashley Wagner (USA)-3rd at 2011 Skate Canada, 3rd 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 5th 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 167.02 at 2010 Rostelecom Cup

Agnes Zawadzki (USA)-3rd 2011 World Juniors, 4th 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 6th 2010 Skate Canada; PB: 161.07 at 2011 Worlds 

1 comment:

  1. Watching Mao's practice, will have to disagree with you on this Invert Akiko and Mao and you have it. My heart would like to see Akiko win, but my mind says Asada.