Golden Skate

Italy’s Della Monica and Guarise lead Pairs at GP Helsinki

Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise

Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise of Italy perform their Short Program at 2018 GP Helsinki.

2018 GP Helsinki

Pairs Figure Skating

The third event of the 2018-19 Grand Prix series kicked off with the Pairs’ event at GP Helsinki where Italy’s Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise currently sit in first after the Short Program. Russia’s Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert are in second followed by teammates Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin.

Other than a step-out on the side-by-side triple Salchows, Della Monica and Guarise were otherwise landed a throw triple loop in their and bluesy rock routine to “Never Tear Us Apart” by Joe Cocker. The Italian Champions also earned a level 4 on their backward outside death spiral, which showed good speed, as well as their lift. They earned a new season’s best of 68.18.

“We were very happy about our performance, because it was not easy to skate here,” said Della Monica regarding their season best. “We’ve been practicing a lot so we were ready, but the legs were shaky. It wasn’t perfect today, so for our next competition we should be able to do even better.”

Guarise added: “We’ve trained very well, we’re in good shape and there is no excuse. We really wanted to show our new program and there was a little pressure.”

It’s a close competition with the Russians and when asked how they would be able to move ahead, Guarise joked, “I don’t know but I will try to be first at the breakfast!”

Zabiiako and Enbert had a fall on their side-by-side triple toeloops, but were otherwise solid in their dramatic performance to Alexander Nevsky by Prokofiev.  The 2018 Lombardia Trophy champions produced a huge level 4 triple twist and throw triple loop to finish a close second with 67.59 points.

“There was a huge mistake on the jump, but it happens,” Zabiiako acknowledged. “Now we’ll just prepare for tomorrow.”

The skaters portray two knights in their program.

“Our music is not typical for us or for figure skating and at first we had some doubts about it,” Enbert explained. “At first we had some doubts, but when we started working on it with choreographer Peter Tchernyshev, we realized it works.”

Teammates Pavliuchenko and  Khodykin, who are competing in their first Grand Prix, finished third 63.80 in their routine which featured a strong triple level 4 triple twist and side-side-by-side triple toes.

“We were very excited and a little nervous,” Pavliuchenko admitted. “We just try to do our work well and we want to skate flawless and clean.”

“Our music is slow and very beautiful and it’s about love,” explained Pavliuchenko. “It’s about a couple who meet and are in love, but go their separate ways. In the end, they are together again.”

Austria’s Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer are currently in fourth, followed by Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim (PRK).