Hiroshima, Japan
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva with coach

Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamysheva with her coach Alexei Mishin in Hiroshima 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia edged Japan’s Satoko Miyahara by 0.09 points for the lead in the Ladies Short Program at NHK Trophy on Friday. Mai Mihara, also from Japan, is currently ranked third. 

Tuktamysheva did it again - hitting an excellent triple Axel, a triple toe-triple toe combination and a triple Lutz in her program to “Assassin’s Tango”. Her spins and footwork merited level threes and fours as the 2015 World and European Champion scored 76.17 points.

“I am very happy to have skated the short program the way I did today. I was more nervous than at Skate Canada, it was hard to skate, because I was a bit sleepy," she said. “I put a lot of energy into my program, because I really wanted to skate well. Now I feel a bit empty emotionally and I want to recover for the free skating and want to skate better than in Canada.

“We are very close (in points), but I expected that as Satoko (Miyahara) is a very strong skater. It will be an interesting fight tomorrow and I hope all of us will skate very well and may the best one win.”

Satoko Miyahara

Satoko Miyahara of Japan 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Skating to “Song for the Little Sparrow”, Miyahara landed a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, double Axel, triple loop and showed excellent spins for a season best score of 76.08 points. “I was nervous in the short program today, but I did the jumps better than I thought I would and so I achieved my goal for the jumps,” the reigning World bronze medalist said. “However, I did not achieve the highest level for my footwork and I hope to be able to do the steps and jumps tomorrow.”

Her fellow countrywoman Mihara’s performance to “It’s Magic” concluded an exciting Ladies Short Program with another highlight. Mihara delivered a beautiful performance that featured a double Axel, a triple flip and level four spins and footwork. However, she underrotated the back end of her triple Lutz-triple toe combination, leaving the 2017 Four Continents Champion with 70.38 points.

“As I skated last today, I was extremely nervous, but skating in Japan I felt the support of the audience,” the 19-year-old said. “I am disappointed that the second jump in my triple-triple combination was called underrotated. Tomorrow I want to land all jumps cleanly so that there is no underrotation.”

Mai Mihara

Mai Mihara (JPN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Eunsoo Lim (KOR) remained close to the podium on 69.78 points with a strong performance. Rika Kihira (JPN) fell on an underrotated triple Axel to finish fifth on 69.59 points, while Russia's Alena Leonova came sixth (68.22 points). ISU Grand Prix Final silver medalist Maria Sotskova (RUS) struggled with her combination and sits in ninth place on 60.75 points.

For full results click here. Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure  #FigureSkating