Anastasia Tarakanova (RUS): 66.68 (SP) + 130.00 (FS) = 196.68 - 1st
Yet another Tutberidze student at the top of a podium. Eteri is basically dominating the women's field, both junior and senior. It's insane! Anastasia has a lot of good qualities about her: good speed, nice jumps, good performance ability...however, girlfriend is very rough around the edges. She seriously lacks refinement but that's okay. She's young and will likely smooth out her movements as she gets older. I do like that she gives so much commitment and effort to the performance and emotional connection of her skating. I feel like she could be a really amazing performer in a few years.
Eunsoo Lim (KOR): 64.79 (SP) + 121.55 (FS) = 186.34 - 2nd
Eunsoo has grown quite a bit this season. She's taller and lankier but (thankfully) it's not affecting her ability to land her jumps. It was really great to see her put out such a strong performance in her debut. Eunsoo has that star quality and spark that Korea has been missing in its female competitors. In addition to that she has the technical goods (great technique, gorgeous jumps, personality and performance)...she's the whole package and I think with another year or so of growth she's going to be one of the top names. I'd like to see her work on maximizing her non-jump elements to make sure she's milking every point possible out of the system. This was a great start for her and I'm excited to see more.
Mako Yamashita (JPN): 64.49 (SP) + 116.55 (FS) = 181.04 - 3rd
Mako has definitely grown since the last time I saw her, both in height and in her skating. Last season she looked like a super-excited little jumping bean; this season I see more nuances and details to her performance. Mako needs to work on stabilizing her flip edge (she got dinged in the SP) and she needs to work on her stamina for the second half of her FS (three under-rotations and a fall). She's fully capable of landing the jumps but it looked like she ran out of steam towards the end.
As for the rest...
Anastasiia Gubanova (RUS; 160.75, 4th): Like several of the other girls Anastasiia grew over the break. As much as I love her skating (her SP was gorgeous despite the falls) I'm wondering if her wonky technique is starting to fail her now that she's grown a bit. I predicted that her upper body reliant style of rotating might hurt her once she hit her growth spurt. I truly hope she can weather the puberty storm because she is a dream to watch. Unfortunately this wasn't her best.
Starr Andrews (USA; 159.28, 5th): Starr did a great job in the SP. Her lack of a lutz is going to hurt her this season (she received an edge call which reduced the value of the jump and lost her points in GOE) so that is something she and her team definitely need to work on. However she maxed all of her non-jump elements and, major plus, the judges seemed to like what she put out. Starr went for the 3A in the FS but received a downgrade and continued to struggle with several of the jumps in the rest of the program. Still, I think it was a solid debut.
Other Competition Notes: I really enjoyed Moa Iwano (JPN) who placed 6th here. Akiko Suzuki is her choreographer and I definitely see shades of Akiko in Moa's performance. I actually thought she should have scored higher in her Choreography and Interpretation scores.
This week is JGP Riga Cup which takes place in Riga, Lativa. The main one to watch at this event will be Rika Kihira (JPN) who has already executed an 8-triple program complete with 3A once this season. We'll also see Alisa Fedichkina (RUS) and Amy Lin (USA). Should be fun!