Japan's Shoma Uno in action in Hiroshima on Friday 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Olympic silver medalist Shoma Uno of Japan grabbed a narrow 1.12 point lead over Russia’s Sergei Voronov in the Men’s Short Program at NHK Trophy on Friday. Dmitri Aliev of Russia placed third in the first segment of the competition.
Uno opened his program to “Stairway to Heaven” with, a quadruple flip but then crashed on the quadruple toeloop, failing to execute a combination. The World silver medalist rallied back to complete a triple Axel and two level-four spins to score 92.49 points. “My performance was not that great, there were major mistakes,” Uno admitted.
“Physically I was moving well, but I bent forward on the jumps and I need to make adjustments. Of course, I have regrets, but the mistake today was different from Skate Canada (when Uno missed a triple Axel). There, it happened mostly because of emotions, while today my body was moving almost too well.”
Sergei Voronov (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Voronov, who skated last, delivered, nailed a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, a triple Lutz and a triple Axel in his routine to “Prelude No. 5” by Sergei Rachmaninov. The defending NHK Trophy Champion collected a level four for two spins while the step sequence and the change sit spin garnered a level two as he registered a total of 91.37.
“I am just happy that I was able to go out after one of the top skaters of the world and show my level and what I am capable of. Some levels were lower, probably the emotions affected the quality,” said the Russian, who at 31 is the oldest man in the competition. “He (Rachmaninov) is one of my favorite composers. I really wanted to prove something to those who were skeptical about changing the program - and this is my best score ever.”
Dmitri Aliev (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Aliev’s program to “Modigliani Suite” included a quadruple toeloop, triple Lutz-triple toeloop and intricate footwork, but he fell on the triple Axel. The 2018 European silver medalist managed 81.16 points. “Overall I felt good emotionally and it was a good fight. I made an error on the triple Axel, but this was probably because I was overwhelmed by emotions after I did the first jump (quad toe) very well and then I went into the Axel without control,” the 19-year-old said.
The 2018 World Junior bronze medalist Matteo Rizzo (ITA) came fourth on 77.00 points, followed by 2017 World Junior Champion Vincent Zhou (USA) on 75.90. Sota Yamamoto (JPN) rounds out the top six (74.98 points).