October 20, 2019 / 1:30 AM / 2 months ago

Shcherbakova, 15, wins in senior grand prix debut

(Reuters) - Russian 15-year-old Anna Shcherbakova won the Skate America Grand Prix in Las Vegas on Sunday with a brilliant performance in the free skate.

In her senior grand prix debut, Shcherbakova landed a dazzling series of jumps to surge past American Bradie Tennell, who had led following the short program.

“I was so excited to skate here and show my program,” Shcherbakova said after landing a quadruple Lutz, triple toe combination.

“It was a little bit relief but I need to fight for every element until the end, and only when I did my final pose was I so happy.”

Shcherbakova was rewarded by the judges with 160.16 points, which included no deductions.

She let out a broad smile on receiving her score, but was not assured of victory, with Tennell awaiting her turn on the ice.

Shcherbakova’s total of 227.26 points proved too much for Tennell, who had to settle for second place on 216.14.

Earlier, world champion Nathan Chen claimed his third consecutive victory in the men’s event by putting on a clinic in the free skate.

The 20-year-old American, skating to music by Elton John, earned a prolonged standing ovation from the adoring crowd after his flawless performance.

He had no deductions and posted a technical score of 102.38, together with a presentation mark of 94.

Adding to his score from the short program, Chen recorded a total of 299.09, finishing 45 points clear of the runnerup, fellow American Jason Brown.

Despite his runaway win, Chen kept his feet on the ground afterwards, unlike during much of his performance on the ice.

“Most programs I make mistakes, so there are a few things I want to clean up, continue developing the programs as much as I can,” he said in an interview.

In the pairs competition, Chinese duo Cheng Peng and Yang Jin scored their first ISU Grand Prix victory.

“We’ve won several silver medals and we’ve been longing for a gold medal,” Peng said.

“We put in a lot of effort and this gold medal is like a new starting point for us and will push us further. Hopefully we’ll win many more.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom and Richard Pullin

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