• Kyodo


Japanese figure skater Yukari Nakano took the silver medal but compatriot Fumie Suguri had to settle for fifth at the Cup of Russia on Saturday.

News photoTakahiko Kozuka performs his free program at the Cup of Russia on Saturday. Kozuka finished fifth with 199.98 points.

Nakano, who was second after the women’s short program, collected a total of 172.77 points after a brilliant free skate and booked her spot in next month’s Grand Prix Final. Nakano also came in second at Skate Canada earlier this month.

South Korea’s Kim Yu Na, last season’s Grand Prix Final winner, held onto her lead from the short program and won the title with a score of 197.20.

“I am really happy that I landed the triple axel,” said Nakano, who will compete in her first Grand Prix final in two seasons at the meet in Turin.

“There were a few jumps that lacked the necessary rotations but I’m glad I ended without making any mistakes. I still have some practice time before the Grand Prix Final, so I wanted to reach a higher level.”

Mao Asada, who has four victories on the top-tier senior international circuit, has already booked her spot in the Grand Prix Final.

Suguri managed 148.15 points, enough for fifth.

“There were some good points to my skate but I made the same mistakes that I did in the six-minute practice (before the actual performance). I have to have steadier jumps and show more emotion,” said Suguri.

On the men’s side Takahiko Kozuka finished fifth after the men’s free program.

The 2006 junior world champion earned 135.33 points for fourth place in the free skate and climbed from seventh after the short program to fifth overall with a total of 199.98 points.

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