Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was sublime in the Men's Short Program © International Skating Union
Two-time Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan dominated the Men’s Short Program to leave him poised for his second Grand Prix gold medal this season as the Rostelecom Cup opened Friday in Moscow. Morisi Kvitelashvili of Georgia sits in a surprise second place followed by Sweden’s Alexander Majorov as some medal hopefuls faltered.
Hanyu opened his performance to “Otonal” by Raul di Blasio with a big quadruple Salchow and followed up with a triple Axel, a quad toe-triple toe combination and level-four spins and footwork. His numerous fans at the sold out Megasport Arena showered the ice with Winnie-the-Pooh toys and other gifts.
The two-time World Champion earned a season’s best with 110.53 points and has a comfortable lead heading into the Free Skating on Saturday.
“I am satisfied with my performance. I can’t say it was perfect, especially not the quad toe-triple toe. But I am happy I got a level four for each element and the GOE (grade of execution) for the triple Axel and the quad Salchow was really good,” Hanyu said.
“There was not enough time in between the competitions (the two Grand Prix events in Helsinki and Moscow) and I needed to control my training in the last week, which was a little hard,” he added.
Morisi Kvitelashvili (GEO) 2018 ©International Skating Union (ISU)
Kvitelashvili’s program to “Bloodstream” by Tokio Myers featured a quad Salchow-triple toeloop combination, a triple Axel and quadruple toeloop as well as two level-four spins. The Georgian skater earned 89.94 points, also a season’s best.
“I did everything as planned, but there is still room for improvement and I will continue to work to please the audience. I really enjoy skating in this competition, there is a positive atmosphere that leads to good performances,” the 23-year-old said.
Skating to “Bang Bang” by Asaf Avidan, Majorov landed a triple Axel, triple Lutz-triple toeloop. He only put his hand down on the quadruple toeloop and scored 82.33 points.
“I made a small mistake on the quad toe, but all elements were a level four, which was good. I will try to fix the mistake in the long program,” Majorov said.
Alexander Majorov (SWE) 2018 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Kazuki Tomono (JPN), who underrotated the quad Salchow, came fourth on 82.26 points. Paul Fentz (GER) follows in fifth (78.28 points) and Alexei Krasnozhon (USA) sits in sixth (75.32 points). Skate Canada silver medalist Keegan Messing (CAN) fell on his underrotated quadruple toeloop and wobbled on the triple Axel to finish seventh (73.83 points). 2018 World bronze medalist Mikhail Kolyada (RUS) popped the planned quad toe into a triple and singled the Axel to place a disappointing eighth (69.10 points).