Kostornaia sees off the challengers Alina Zagitova was the first of the podium contenders to skate, and it was a much better day at the office for reigning world and Olympic champion.
The PyeongChang 2018 gold medallist was down in fourth after a disappointing short program.
The 17-year-old looked far more confident in her jumping on Saturday, and while she admits she "can't skate like Carolina Kostner yet!", Zagitova is a more rounded skater than when she won Olympic gold.
She certainly looked much happier in the kiss and cry as she received a season's best score of 151.15 for a total of 217.99 and a place in the Grand Prix Final.
Zagitova told ISU.org, "After the short program I was upset, of course. But I pulled myself together for the free skate thanks to my coaches finding the right words. In the program, I was just thinking from one element to the next what I need to do."
China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong were comfortable winners in the pairs.
Starting the day with a 10-point lead after a world record short program, the world champions from Saitama in March were not quite at their best in the free skate.
They still took it by eight points from Skate Canada runners-up Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro to add to their win at the Cup of China a fortnight ago.
The Canadians will also be in Turin, as will Russia's world junior champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov who finished third after winning on their senior Grand Prix debut at the Internationaux de France.
Pairs Grand Prix Finalists: Sui/Han (CHN), Moore-Towers/Marinaro (CAN), Mishina/Galliamov (RUS), Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii (RUS), Peng Cheng/Jin Yang (CHN), Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin (RUS).
Russian figure skaters, including world and Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, risk missing several training sessions in Russia as their luggage – containing skates and costumes – has not been delivered from Japan. The athletes who took part in the NHK trophy in Sapporo arrived in Moscow on Monday having made a connecting flight in Tokyo.
After arriving in the Russian capital the skaters were notified that the arrival of their luggage was delayed as the airline representatives were late bringing it to the connecting point in Tokyo.
The unplanned delay could negatively affect the athletes’ preparation for future tournaments given that the majority of them, including Zagitova and Alena Kostornaia are set to participate in the Grand Prix final in Italy next week.
“Well this happens very seldom,” said Alexander Svinin, the coach of ice-dancing duo Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin who also had their skates lost in Tokyo.
“Of course we are getting nervous, as a lot of guys have qualified for the Grand Prix final and they need to get ready for the tournament. I hope our skates and costumes will arrive tomorrow, so that our training process won’t be affected.”
Women The top three Russians to qualify for the Grand Prix Final — Alena Kostornaia (16), Alexandra Trusova (15), and Anna Shcherbakova (15) — were the same top qualifiers for last year’s Junior Grand Prix Final. Kostornaia won, followed by Trusova, and Shcherbakova was fifth.
All three are in their first senior season. They train together in Moscow under coach Eteri Tutberidze, alongside reigning Olympic and world champion Alina Zagitova (17).
While Zagitova has never landed a quadruple jump or triple Axel in competition, Kostornaia’s free skate includes two triple Axels; Trusova’s free skate includes up to four quads; and Shcherbakova’s free skate includes two quad Lutzes.
For her part, Japan’s Rika Kihira (17) is capable of two triple Axels in her free skate, as well.
American Bradie Tennell is the oldest in the field by four years at 21.
The women’s field: 1. Alena Kostornaia (RUS) 2. Alexandra Trusova (RUS) 3. Anna Shcherbakova (RUS) 4. Rika Kihira (JPN) 5. Alina Zagitova (RUS) 6. Bradie Tennell (USA)