Despite a hitch on a triple flip, Gubanova, already in the lead after the short, won the free program, skating to the music from the film "Slumdog millionaire" in a sequined jumpsuit reminiscent of a sari.

"I'm in shock, but the work pays off," reacted the new continental queen, 20, who came close to 200 points in total (199.91).

"I was so stressed before skating, and mentally it was very hard, she said. At the end of my performance, there were a lot of emotions. Above all, I was happy to have succeeded to surpass myself."

Eleventh at the Beijing Olympics then sixth at the Montpellier Worlds, the one who represented Russia until the summer of 2021 thus won the best title of her career.

She is more than six points ahead of Loena Hendrick, vice-world champion last year, and who was the big favorite to succeed the Russian Kamila Valieva.

But the Belgian, who had already made an unusual mistake in the short program on Thursday, fell heavily twice.

"I'm not happy at all. I wanted to do a good program and I didn't. I'm very disappointed," admitted the 23-year-old skater, at the foot of the podium last year in Talinn.

"I was really confident because yesterday and today in training it couldn't have gone better. And then I made two big mistakes. It was too much, it wasn't not good, it wasn't good enough."

Third place went to Swiss Kimmy Repond, 16, who performed a faultless program to music by British rock band Muse (192.51 pts).

Last year, the three places on the podium were monopolized by Russian skaters, but these were excluded from the 2023 edition due to the war in Ukraine.

The only French skater in the running, Léa Serna, was eliminated after the short program.

© 2023 AFP