Figure Skating

Alysa Liu lands quad Lutz and triple Axel in Gdansk JGP victory

US champion goes from fourth to first in Poland to book her place in December's Junior Grand Prix Final in Turin

By Rory Jiwani ·

Alysa Liu produced a fine free skate to take victory at figure skating's Junior Grand Prix in Gdansk, Poland.

After finishing fourth in the short program, the 14-year-old reigning US champion landed a quad Lutz and a triple Axel to win from Russian pair Viktoria Vasilieva and Anastasia Tarakanova.

Having won her first JGP competition at Lake Placid in August, Liu has now qualified for Junior Grand Prix Final in Turin, Italy from 5-8 December.

Liu claws back short program deficit

Liu, who at 13 became the youngest US figure skating champion in history last January, has made an impressive start to the 2019-20 campaign.

In her first junior international season, she has already become the first American woman to land a quad jump in competition.

But her unbeaten streak was under threat despite landing a triple Axel-triple toeloop combination - the first in women's JGP history - at the start of her short program.

She then landed a double Axel but doubled what should have been a triple loop, leaving her down in fourth place behind Tarakanova.

Liu's free skate started slightly shakily as she just about held on to a triple Axel before completing the combination with a double toeloop.

But, skating to Jennifer Thomas' New World Symphony, she soon grew into the routine and landed a quad Lutz next before a much better triple Axel.

There followed a triple Lutz and two excellent combinations - triple Lutz-triple toeloop and triple Lutz-Euler-triple Salchow - before she completed her routine with a triple flip.

The result was a season's best free skate score of 138.99 to set a stiff target of 203.10.

Tarakanova made a number of triple jumps cleanly and, while 126.60 was a season's best score in the free skate, her total of 194.74 was only enough for second with Vasilieva next to skate.

Her fellow Russian was that bit more dynamic on the ice, landing triple Lutz-triple toeloop and double Axel-Euler-triple flip combinations on her way to a score of 128.95 which saw her move into second with 196.47.

After third place on her 2019-20 JGP debut in Chelyabinsk, the 15-year-old will have to wait and see if she has done enough to reach the Junior Grand Prix Final with three events to come.

But Liu has joined another Russian, Courchevel and Chelyabinsk victor Kamila Valieva, in clinching two JGP wins to secure her place in December's finale.

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