Nagoya / Japan

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Nathan Chen (USA) took the lead in Men’s Short Program over Japan’s homecrowd hero Shoma Uno  at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on Thursday. Mikhail Kolyada of Russia finished third.

Skating to ‘Nemesis’ by Benjamin Clementine, Chen nailed a quadruple Lutz-triple toe combination and a somewhat shaky quadruple flip as well as a triple Axel. The reigning Four Continents Champion collected a level four for two spins and his step sequence to score 103.32 points. “It’s great to feel that you are in the lead. Both of my quads were a little bit shaky that was because I was nervous and little stressed. I will focus on tomorrow and for the future trust myself use energy to put on the show as best as I can,” Chen said. “I’m excited for free program tomorrow. I didn’t do my best at Skate America so I can redeem myself.  I have to make sure I calm myself tonight and sleep well so I can start fresh tomorrow and focus on one quad at a time,” the defending ISU Grand Prix Final silver medalist added. 

Uno pulled off a quadruple flip, quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop and level-four spins and footwork, but he went down on the triple Axel. The 2017 World silver medalist earned 101.51 points. “I just thought I made "new type of mistake" today. The triple Axel is the jump I know I can land. When I made a mistake, this is not like ‘I felt so disappointed’. But I felt like ‘let’s get this done better next time’. I was not so surprised by 101 points, but I was more surprised by two points deduction. I only fell once, and I don't think anything fell from my costume. I didn't touch the wall either. So I only can think of overtime being another deduction factor. I changed the music a bit and started today's program slightly earlier,” the ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalist explained.

Kolyada crashed on the opening quadruple Lutz but rallied back to complete a quadruple toeloop-triple toeloop combination, a triple Axel and strong spins and footwork. The Russian Champion was awarded 99.22 points. “A shame I missed the Lutz, but the jump is still not consistent. I haven’t been doing it as long as the toeloop in competition. In practice it has been going well, especially in the past one and a half weeks”, the European bronze medalist said. “It (his first Grand Prix Final) is just like another competition, I feel no different,” he added.

Jason Brown (USA), who stepped out of the back end of his triple flip-triple toe combination, is sitting in fourth on 89.02 points. Sergei Voronov (RUS) almost fell on the triple Axel to come fifth (87.77 points) and Adam Rippon (USA) underrotated a triple Lutz to finish sixth (86.19 points.)