Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic, the most experienced skater in the field, clinched a narrow lead in the Men’s Short Program over Russia’s Dmitri Aliev as the ISU European Figure Skating Championships opened in Graz (AUT) on Wednesday. Youngster Artur Danielian of Russia came third in the first segment of the event.
Michael Brezina (CZE) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Skating to “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” by Chris Isaac, Brezina produced a quadruple Salchow-double toeloop, a triple flip and nice triple Axel as well as two level-four spins and a level-four step sequence. The Czech Champion picked up a season’s best of 89.77 points. “I'm very happy, it's my 13th Europeans, so it only took 13 years. I practiced well, and I just did what I do at practices for the past one and a half months,“ the 29-year-old said. “I didn't really come here with any expectations of the placing in top three or top ten, I just wanted to show what I did at the practices and am happy, it's a happy shiny bonus (to be in first),” he continued.
Dmitri Aliev (RUS) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Aliev went for a quad Lutz-triple toe, but he underrotated the Lutz. The Russian Champion nailed a quad toe and earned a level four for the spins and footwork, but he again underrotated the triple Axel to score 88.45 points for his routine to “Je dors sur les roses” from “Mozart L’Opera Rock”. “I was confident, it was a good skate. I’m not satisfied with the marks, there were underotations, of course the judges are right, but I’ll have to see and find out where I underrotated,” the 2018 European silver medalist commented. “I have to regroup for the long program, see where I will end up in the group, tomorrow is another day and I’ll be ready.”
Artur Danielian (RUS) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2020©International Skating Union (ISU)
Danielian, at 16 the youngest man in the competition, delivered an expressive Flamenco program that featured a quadruple Salchow, triple Lutz-triple toe as well as difficult spins and footwork, but he stumbled on the triple Axel. The 2018 World Junior silver medalist set a new personal best of 84.63 points. “I’m so happy am here, that I made it to the team, it's my first time at such a major event and for me it's more about fun and the experience. I want to show what I can do on the senior level. The skate today was not bad but there is room to grow and I have to increase the difficulty,“ the National silver medalist shared.
Morisi Kvitelashvili (GEO) landed a quad Salchow-triple toeloop combination but missed the quad toe to finish fourth on 82.77 points. Deniss Vasiljevs (LAT) sits in fifth on 80.44 points and Paul Fentz (GER) came sixth with a clean performance (80.41 points). 2019 European bronze medalist Matteo Rizzo (ITA) placed seventh on 79.07 points. 2019 European silver medalist Alexander Samarin (RUS) ranks 13th after making errors on two quadruple attempts (74.77 points).
Medal hopeful and ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Kevin Aymoz (FRA) faltered on all three jumping passes to finish a distant 26th (64.40 points). He did not advance to the Free Skating on Friday.
The schedule of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2020 is as follows:
Wednesday, January 22: Men and Pairs Short Program, Opening Ceremony
Thursday, January 23: Rhythm Dance, Men’s Free Skating
Friday, January 24: Ladies Short Program, Pairs Free Skating
Saturday, January 25: Free Dance, Ladies Free Skating
Sunday, January 26: Exhibition Gala
Where to watch and follow the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2020?
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