World champion Javier Fernandez was bettered in the Rostelecom Cup short program and heads into Saturday’s free skate in second place.
Fernandez, who became the first Spanish World champion last season, landed all of his jumps in the short program in Moscow on Friday but, uncharacteristically, performed no quadruple jumps.
Russian Adian Pitkeev, 17 and the 2014 World junior silver medalist, landed a quadruple toe loop and totaled 87.54 points, while Fernandez tallied 86.99. American Ross Miner placed third.
“I was very nervous before the short program,” Pitkeev said, according to the International Skating Union. “I used to come here as a spectator only and now I’m skating here myself and I wanted to do well. I am obviously very surprised to be in first place.”
Fernandez, who won Cup of China two weeks ago, will clinch a berth in December’s Grand Prix Final in Barcelona if he finishes in the top three after Saturday’s free skate. He could still make the six-skater Grand Prix Final if he finishes lower than third.
The men expected to be Fernandez’s top challengers in Moscow — U.S. silver medalist Adam Rippon and Canadian champion Nam Nguyen — are sixth and seventh, both counting falls in their short programs.
Women’s short program — Friday, 12:30 p.m. ET (start order here)
Men’s free skate — Saturday, 7:35 a.m. ET
Women’s free skate — Saturday, 11:35 a.m. ET
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