Figure Skating

Shoma Uno fourth after short program in France

Kyodo, AP

Shoma Uno fell twice in his Grand Prix season debut on Friday and landed in fourth place after the short program at the Internationaux de France.

The Pyeongchang Olympic silver medalist had to settle for a score of 79.05 points after missing the landing on a quad toe loop and a triple axel, and is more than three points out of third place and well short of his personal best of 104.15.

“My mood was negative and that resulted in a poor performance. I became weak,” Uno said. “My toe loop is still not quite there, and I just got mentally stuck on the triple axel.”

Defending two-time world champion Nathan Chen of the United States is in the lead with 102.48. Russia’s Alexander Samarin and France’s Kevin Aymoz rounded out the top three with 98.48 and 82.50, respectively.

Tomoki Hiwatashi, who was born in the U.S. to Japanese parents and was crowned junior world champion last year, got off to a slow start and is 10th with 68.70.

Chen, the two-time reigning men’s world champion, landed two quadruple jumps but put both hands down on his triple axel.

“Work has to be done, but it’s exciting to be in this position,” he said.

The American leads after what he called a “shaky” program.

Samarin, who landed a high-scoring quad lutz but had errors on other elements, was second.

After his win at Skate America last month, Chen is on course to make next month’s final in Italy.

Hiwatashi, making his senior GP debut, pulled out of a triple axel.

Sixteen-year-old Grand Prix debutante Alena Kostornaia is in first place after the women’s short program with 76.55, while fellow Russian and defending Olympic and world champion Alina Zagitova follows with 74.24. American Mariah Bell stands third with 70.25.

“Overall, it was a good start for my senior competitions,” Kostornaia said.

Wakaba Higuchi is in fifth with 64.78, Kaori Sakamoto in sixth with 64.08 and Yuna Shiraiwa in seventh with 63.12.

The fight for the lead pits Zagitova, who is still only 17, against Kostornaia, 16, among Russian skaters with strong jumping skills.

An under-rotation from Zagitova on her triple lutz/triple loop combination and a deduction for a time violation left her behind Kostornaia going into Saturday’s free skate.

French ice dancers Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron beat their own record score for the rhythm dance with 88.69, taking an eight-point lead over Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates.

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri were third for Italy.

Russia is on track for a second victory on Saturday after Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin led the pairs short program with 76.59.

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