The third edition of the ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating opened Thursday in Tokyo, Japan with the Short Dance, Men's and Ladies Short Programs. The six top ranked national teams of the 2012/13 season have qualified for the event. Each team consists of two Men, two Ladies, one Pair and one Ice Dance couple.

Team Japan takes the lead
Team Japan took the lead on the first day ahead of Team USA. Both teams scored 47 points, but Japan beat the USA on the second tiebreaker.Team Russia currently sits in third with 41 points.

Today we had ice dance, women and men, some of the skaters were able to skate very well, some others maybe not as well, but at least as of today we are very happy to be number one, team captain Daisuke Takahashi commented.

Takahashi and Akiko Suzuki finished second in their Short Programs thus collecting 22 points alone for Japan. Suzuki turned in a clean performance of her routine to Kill Bill and Malaguena that included a triple toe-double toe combination and a triple flip. She picked up a seasons best of 66.56 points. This wasn't perfect. I mostly regret not to have done the triple-triple, but the first triple toe wasn't good enough for doing the second triple toe, the 2012 World bronze medalist explained. Performing to Moonlight Sonata, Takahashi landed forward on his quadruple toeloop but pulled off a triple Axel and level-four steps to earn 80.87 points. I was very motivated, but I made a mistake and it's a shame I couldn't give a better contribution to the team. Overall the level of my performance was good, but of course the mistake on the jump (quad toe) was big. I'd like to try harder for the free program, the 2010 World Champion noted. Mao Asada (59.39 points) and Takahito Mura (77.65 points) came fifth as both missed a jump while ice dancers Cathy Reed/Chris Reed placed fourth in the Short Dance (56.35 points).

Today was a great day for team USA. We had many amazing performances. I'm very proud of our dance team, our men and the U.S. Ladies. I was very happy with what we accomplished today and hope we'll be able to carry that through on to tomorrow and then Saturday as well, team captain Ashley Wagner told the press. The Americans had a strong start when Madison Chock/Evan Bates won the Short Dance, securing 12 points. Performing to a Waltz and Polka from Cirque du Soleil, the 2013 Four Continents bronze medalists picked up a level four for the twizzles, the first Polka sequence and the rotational lift. They were awarded 66.54 points. (The World Team Trophy) is unlike any other competition I've experienced ever, in a good way. The atmosphere is infectiously fun. It's not like a normal skating competition in the way that everyone is cheering for each other. Everyone is excited, I think as much as for the competition, as for what is coming up next, which is a rest. Everyone is happy to be here and going through their programs one last time for the fans. It's the last hurray, Bates commented. Gracie Gold took 9 points for the team by coming third in the Ladies Short Program. She fell on the triple Lutz-triple toe combination but hit a double Axel and triple flip (60.98 points). Wagner placed fourth but missed the double Axel (59.77 points). Jeremy Abbott is sitting in fourth as well after falling on a triple flip (80.24 points) and Max Aaron produced a quad Salchow-double toeloop combination to finishe sixth (77.38 points).

We are very happy to be in the top three after the first day. It is the first time for Russia to be so high. We have skaters in the top three in all categories and it is a good result for us. We hope some skaters will skate better in the next days. We are a good team and we can do even better, Russia's captain Maxim Trankov explained. Adelina Sotnikova was the highest scoring team member with her win in the Ladies Short Program. Her routine to Capriccio Espagnol featured a triple flip, double Axel and four level-four elements, only the back end of the triple Lutz-triple toe was underrotated (67.13 points). I am very happy with my performance, although I didn't do my planned (triple Lutz-triple loop) combination. I felt that I wasn't right in the air and I had to do the toe instead of the loop. In the free, I just have to skate clean. I skated well today, why shouldn't I do the same in the long, the 2013 European silver medalist said. Konstantin Menshov and ice dancers Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin finished third in their events. Menshov put out a clean program to Pina, pulling off a quad-triple combination, triple Axel and triple Lutz to set a seasons best with 80.60 points. Monko/Khaliavin were the only dance team to pick up a level four for both parts of the Yankee Polka (59.47 points). Maxim Kovtun ranked seventh and Elizaveta Tuktamysheav was tenth after some errors.

Team Canada currently stands in fourth place with 34 points. Patrick Chan won the Men's Short Program in spite of a fall on the quad toe but produced a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination and level-four spins and footwork (86.67 points). Considering the long trip and end of the season it was a good day. I think all the men felt a little shaky. It was still a good day for me, I was able to do triple Lutz-triple toe at the end of the program. I was really tired and didn't have enough speed into the quad or into the Axel, I think that was the reason I was a little rough, the three-time World Champion shared. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje came second in the Short Dance, contributing 11 points to Canada's score. They lost a few points on their level-two side by side footwork and the twizzles (level three) and overall had 62.42 points. Kevin Reynolds came 9th while Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman finished 7th and 12th.

Team France ended up in fifth with 23 points. Ice Dancers Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones had the best result for the French with their fifth place in the Short Dance. Mae-Berenice Meite turned in a solid performance to place sixth in the Ladies Short Program while Brian Joubert finished 8th in the Men's Short after a wobbly quad toe-double toe combination.

Team China came in sixth with 21 points. Ice Dancers Xiaoyu Yu/Chen Wang contributed 7 points with their sixth place in the Short Dance. Zijun Li and Kexin Zhang finished 8th and 9th in the Ladies Short Program. Han Yan and Yi Wang struggled in the Men's Short and were ranked 10th and 11th.

The ISU World Team Trophy in Figure Skating continues Friday with the Pairs Short Program, Free Dance and Men's Free Skating.