Shoma Uno, Kaori Sakamoto top NHK Trophy standings after first day

Shoma Uno and Kaori Sakamoto ended the primary day of the NHK Trophy on the high of the the boys’s and girls’s single standings, giving the house crowd at Yoyogi Nationwide Gymnasium a lot to applaud because the ISU Grand Prix occasion welcomed a full worldwide roster to the ice for the primary time because the 2019 version.

Regardless of being the one skater to cross the 100-point barrier with a rating of 102.58, Uno expressed disappointment in his quick program set to “Oboe Concerto,” admitting that he may have pushed his quad toeloop/triple toeloop mixture to completion fairly than ending in a double toeloop.

“To be actually sincere, it’s probably not about whether or not the efficiency was good or dangerous, however I feel that my mixture triple bounce grew to become a double,” Uno stated. “I’m very dissatisfied as a result of this season remains to be lengthy, so now isn’t the time for me to attempt to play it protected.

“The truth that I’m probably not happy … that’s as a result of I don’t essentially wish to do a superb efficiency, I actually wish to present that I’m rising.”

Trailing Uno within the standings was Vincent Zhou, who scored 99.51 to his efficiency set to “Vincent.” The American college scholar admitted that he felt a robust highlight on him following final month’s victory in Las Vegas, the place he completed practically 25 factors forward of Uno.

“I positively seen that there’s extra stress, extra expectations coming into this competitors,” Zhou stated. “However I feel I managed to remain in my very own zone fairly properly, in my very own bubble, each figuratively and actually.

“I felt just a little bit shaky, my legs have been just a little bit nervous. I feel that mirrored within the high quality of a few of my spins and on the triple axel. I positively perceive why I didn’t attain 100 factors, however total I’m fairly pleased with my efficiency and with the rating.”

South Korea’s Cha Jun-hwan ended the evening in third with 95.92 factors.

“I’m fairly glad about my efficiency right this moment,” the 20-year-old stated. “I feel I actually labored laborious and did my finest work right this moment.”

Sakamoto took a assured lead within the girls’s competitors, scoring 76.56 factors along with her quick program set to the soundtrack from “Gladiator” and impressing judges along with her triple flip/triple toeloop.

The 21-year-old, who completed fourth at Skate America in Las Vegas final month, stated that whereas her apply time was restricted as a result of quarantine measures after returning to Japan, she was capable of work on bettering her jumps — together with a gap double axel that earned robust marks from all 9 judges.

“I used to be solely capable of skate through the time the Japan Skating Federation reserved for me, so I centered on doing my applications,” Sakamoto stated. “I additionally wanted to verify I improved the standard of my jumps so I requested the coaches to assist by videotaping me and I used to be capable of do an in depth follow-up which was good.

“It doesn’t matter how laborious you apply, you actually need to just remember to give it your all within the final three minutes within the competitors.”

Kaori Sakamoto competes in the women's short program during the NHK Trophy at Yoyogi National Gymnasium on Friday. | REUTERS
Kaori Sakamoto competes within the girls’s quick program through the NHK Trophy at Yoyogi Nationwide Gymnasium on Friday. | REUTERS

Shut behind Sakamoto in second place is Kawabe, who spent a lot of the night atop the leaderboard after incomes 73.88 factors with a triple axel — her highest grade of execution — adopted by a triple lutz/triple toeloop.

Kawabe, who completed ninth at this yr’s Skate Canada and sixth ultimately yr’s NHK Trophy — which happened with a virtually all-domestic area as a result of pandemic-related journey restrictions — was a late alternative for reigning Japanese champion Rika Kihira, who withdrew final week with an ankle damage.

“I believed I’d be happy with a rating within the excessive 60s so I used to be very glad once I noticed the end result,” Kawabe stated. “I feel the lutz is a much bigger situation for me than my axel, so I’m glad I used to be capable of transition from that.

“Ending the quick program in second has positively given me confidence, so I want to preserve this standing within the free program.”

Rounding out the highest three was South Korea’s Younger You, whose 68.08 positioned her barely above U.S. skater Alysa Liu’s 67.72.

The ladies’s area was diminished to 9 skaters halfway by Friday’s session when Russian Daria Usacheva, the second-place finisher at Skate America, withdrew after falling and struggling an damage throughout warmups.

Japan’s two ice dance duos have been in sixth and seventh place after the rhythm dance, with Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi scoring 70.74 and Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto ending with 68.13. Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov lead with 86.33.

Russia’s Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov ended the pairs quick program in first place with 78.40, with fellow countrymen Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov in second with 75.98. Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara positioned third with 73.98 heading into Saturday’s free skate.

Whereas most followers sat with out open seats between them — the newest indication of Japan’s willingness to ease capability restrictions at sporting occasions within the wake of subsiding infections and excessive vaccination charges — they have been forbidden from cheering or throwing flowers and items onto the ice.

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