Murakami places seventh at Cup of Russia


Former junior world champion Kanako Murakami delivered a much-improved performance Saturday after a poor short program, finishing seventh at the Cup of Russia, the sixth and final event of the Grand Prix Series.

Murakami, fourth at the 2012-13 senior worlds, was bottom of the rankings after the short program, but produced the fourth-best free skate to earn a total of 162.46 points.

“To do as well as I have after what happened in the short program gives me confidence,” said Murakami.

“I was also able to express myself and other things better than I did at the Cup of China. I will work on my short program in practice for the national championships (in December).”

Satoko Miyahara was Japan’s best finisher, placing fifth overall with 165.76, while Haruka Imai was last in the nine-woman field with 145.30.

Russia’s Julia Lipnitskaia won with 190.80 points, Italy’s Carolina Kostner was second with 190.12 and American Mirai Nagasu was third with 175.37.

Tatsuki Machida, who won the GP season-opening Skate America, was in second place heading into the men’s free skate. Fourth place or better will secure Machida a place at the Grand Prix Final to be held in Fukuoka in December.