Kozuka settles for second place, books Grand Prix Final spot


Japan’s Takahiko Kozuka had to settle for second behind two-time world champion Patrick Chan at the Cup of Russia on Saturday but booked a spot in the Grand Prix Final.

Kozuka, winner of the season-opening Skate America, collected a total of 229.99 points after the free skate in the fourth event of the Grand Prix series, giving him enough to secure a spot in December’s final in Sochi where the top six skaters will compete. It will his first Final in two seasons.

Kozuka was unable to properly land his two quad jumps, falling on the second, and was third in both the free and short programs. He was able to compensate for his lack of technique with crisp steps and mesmerizing spins.

“My quads weren’t that bad, but I’m disappointed I got low technical marks,” Kozuka said. “But I was able to secure a spot in the Final, so I have been given another opportunity to redeem myself.”

Canadian Chan blew away the competition with a top score 262.35, while Michael Brezina of the Czech Republic was third with 224.56.

Kozuka’s compatriot Nobunari Oda placed second in the free skate for a total of 217.92, only good enough for fifth overall.

In the women’s competition, Kanako Murakami managed a fourth-place finish with a score of 166.34, moving up from sixth in the short program after coming third in the free skate.

Finland’s Kiira Korpi came from behind to win the women’s singles with a total of 177.19. Americans Gracie Gold and Agnes Zawadzki were second and third, respectively.