NAGOYA – Yuka Nagai notched her second podium finish of the season with a fine free skate in the Aichi Junior Grand Prix at Morikoro Park Skating Rink on Saturday night.
The Tokyo native vaulted from fifth place after the short program to finish second behind Russia’s Serafima Sakhanovich.
Sakhanovich landed seven triple jumps and posted a total of 177.69 to win by more than 15 points over Nagai, who tallied 161.65.
Kazahkstan’s Elizabet Turzynbaeva, who is coached by Brian Orser, was third on 159.38.
Nagai, who also came in second at the season-opening JGP in Slovenia last month, said she felt good before taking the ice to “Introduction et Rondo Capriccioso.”
“I had a good practice this morning,” she stated. “When I practice well, it makes me fight harder.”
Nagai, who hit six triple jumps, remained calm after singling her planned opening triple lutz/triple toe loop combination jump.
The two second-place showings give Nagai a very good chance of qualifying for the JGP Final in Barcelona, Spain, in December.
“It would be a great experience for me to take part in the Junior Grand Prix Final,” Nagai commented.
Yuhana Yokoi (148.22) tried her best, but hit the ice twice and came in sixth.
Yokoi showed great fortitude, however, by landing a triple flip/triple toe loop combo near the end of her program.
“It was a bad performance,” commented Yokoi. “I thought I could do it tonight. But as I went into the first jump, the mistakes of yesterday flashed back.”
Yokoi, who was eighth after the short program, still feels the event was beneficial for her.
“It was a good experience to take part in my first Junior Grand Prix,” she noted. “I learned a lot. Next time I want to do better.”
Kaori Sakamoto (146.16) struggled with her free skate, falling three times and placed seventh..
“I made the same mistakes as in the short program,” said a tearful Sakamoto. “I was too worried about my jumps. I’m not on the same level as some of the other skaters yet.”
Nagoya native Shoma Uno is in second place heading into Sunday’s men’s free skate.
China’s Jin Boyang holds a narrow lead of just over one point over Uno, who will be the final skater of the competition.