Las Vegas, USA

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 First-placed Tennell skated to ‘Mechanisms’ and ‘Chronos’ by Kirill Richter © International Skating Union

Bradie Tennell (USA) posted a personal best score to claim the Ladies Short Program as the first day of competition concluded at Skate America in Las Vegas (USA) on Friday. Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto and Wakaba Higuchi are ranked second and third.

Skating to ‘Mechanisms’ and ‘Chronos’ by Kirill Richter, Tennell produced a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, double Axel, triple flip and level-four spins and footwork. The 2018 U.S. Champion scored 75.10 points.

“Tonight, I was really happy with my skate especially after my injury and working my way back to full training. I went out there with the mindset of doing what I do every day in practice and not trying to make anything any better, or certainly any worse. I wanted to enjoy myself, be relaxed and perform,” said Tennell, who suffered a stress fracture during the summer.

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Japan's Sakamoto sits in second place after posting a season’s best of 73.25 points © International Skating Union

Sakamoto’s dynamic performance to ‘No Roots’ by Alice Merton featured a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, double Axel and triple loop. The 2018 Four Continents Champion earned a season’s best of 73.25 points.

“I came into this event feeling not so confident. I am happy that I was able to skate without mistakes, but I need to practice more to have more confidence,” the 19-year-old said.

Higuchi landed a double Axel, triple Lutz-triple toeloop and triple flip in her routine to ‘Bird Set Free' by Sia. The 2018 World silver medallist scored 71.76 points, which was a personal best.

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 Higuchi danced to Bird Set Free and scored 71.76 points, a personal best © International Skating Union

“I was really happy to skate a clean program after a long time. I think it has been two years since I skated a program at this level. However, I left some points on the table in the spins, steps and also jumps. I hope to practice more and be confident for the Free Skating,” the Japanese skater said.

2019 World Junior silver medalist Anna Shcherbakova (RUS) fell in her step sequence and underrotated the triple loop in her combination to come fourth on 67.60 points. She was just ahead of her teammate, 2015 World Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (RUS), who landed a triple Axel but made errors on two other jumps (67.28 points). Former US Champion Karen Chen rounds up the top six on 66.03 points.

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