Russian Elizaveta Tuktamysheva landed her second triple Axel in as many Grand Prix short programs, while Shoma Uno fell, but both skaters lead after the first day at NHK Trophy.
Tuktamysheva, who had struggled since winning the 2015 World title, leads Japanese Satoko Miyahara by .09 of a point going into Saturday’s free skate in Hiroshima. Both are looking to clinch spots in December’s exclusive, six-skater Grand Prix Final after winning Grand Prix series titles earlier this season.
Tuktamysheva, after going nearly three years between landing clean triple Axels in competition, has now done it in both of her Grand Prix starts this fall. Her short-program score Friday — 76.17 — ranks second in the world this season behind Olympic champion Alina Zagitova.
The elegant Miyahara, a two-time world medalist, beat Tuktamysheva on the components (artistic) score. Another Japanese skater, Mai Mihara, is in third. The top American is Mariah Bell in seventh.
Uno, the Olympic and world silver medalist and overwhelming favorite at NHK, leads Russian Sergey Voronov by 1.12 despite falling on a quadruple toe loop and not having a jumping combination. Uno tallied 92.49 points.
U.S. Olympian Vincent Zhou was fifth with two under-rotated jumps, three weeks after being dinged for seven under rotations between two Skate America programs.
Earlier in pairs, Russians Natalya Zabiyako and Alexander Enbert skated a clean, 73.48-point short to take a 2.82 lead over Chinese Peng Cheng and Jin Yang.
Only French Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, who are not at NHK, have scored higher in the short this season.
Americans Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim and Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea were fourth and fifth after trouble with their side-by-side triple Salchows.
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