Two-time World Champion Javier Fernandez, of Spain, soared past the field in the Men’s Short Program at the Internationaux de France de Patinage Friday, looking for redemption after his sub-par performances at the Audi Cup of China where he was taken ill. Japan’s World silver medalist Shoma Uno is almost 14 points behind in second place and Russian Alexander Samarin completes the top three after the Short Program.
Fernandez opened his Charlie Chaplin routine with a quad toe-triple toe combination and followed up with a quad Salchow, triple Axel as well as level-four spins and footwork. The five-time European Champion posted a season’s best with 107.86 points for a strong lead. “It was a good day,” the two-time World Champion said.“After my first Grand Prix, I needed a good skate and to be able to smile. It is sometimes hard with all the work and the pressure The competition isn’t done yet. We still have tomorrow – that is going to be even harder – but I think we started this competition with the right direction and I’m excited for tomorrow to finish this competition with a very good result,” the 26-year-old added.
Skating to ‘Winter’ from ‘Four Seasons’, Uno landed a quad toe-triple toe and a triple Axel, but crashed on his under-rotated quadruple flip. The World silver medalist collected level fours for his spins and footwork and picked up 93.92 points. “Today it was a very hard Short Program for me,” Uno said. “I hope that tomorrow in the Free Program I’ll be able to show much more. I haven’t been able to watch the video yet, but while I was skating, it was very difficult and I was so concentrated on the jumps, because it was so hard. But I was happy to see my component scores were all 9s.”
Samarin’s performance to a modern arrangement of ‘Moonlight Sonata’ featured a quad toe and triple Axel, but he under-rotated the quad Lutz in combination with a triple toe. With 91.51 points, the 2017 World Junior bronze medalist improved on his previous personal best significantly.
“I am satisfied with the performance, but I understand that I could do even better than that,” the 19-year-old commented. “But I’m happy that I established a new personal best. Right now I don’t feel any special emotions because the competition isn’t over yet and the most interesting will happen tomorrow.”
Moris Kvitelashvili (GEO) is ranked fourth on 86.98 points. NHK Trophy bronze medalist Alexei Bychenko (ISR) is not far behind in fifth place on 86.79 points and Misha Ge (UZB) finished sixth (85.41 points).
The Internationaux de France de Patinage are the fifth of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series that culminates in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) in December. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the Final. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$272,000.
Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here.
The Internationaux de France de Patinage continue Saturday with Ladies Free Skating, Free Dance, Pairs and Men’s Free Skating.