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Vasiljevs thrills home crowd with first-place skate

Russia 1-2 in ladies; Krasnozhon jumps into third; Ukraine leads pairs
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Latvia's Deniss Vasiljevs delighted the fans at the Volvo Ice Arena with a lively rendition of his "Puttin' on the Ritz" short program. -Getty Images

The first day of action at the Junior Grand Prix in Riga, Latvia, featured Deniss Vasiljevs putting on a show on home ice and Russia once again finding itself on top of the ladies standings.

Ladies

Making her international debut, Alisa Fedichkina performed a backloaded short program to Tchaikovsky's "Valse Sentimentale." The 13-year-old Russian landed a triple lutz-triple toe and a triple flip in the second half of her routine en route to a segment total of 63.49.

Maria Sotskova, a JGP Final qualifier each of the last two years, is less than a point back in second. The silver medalist at this event in 2013, Sotskova totaled 62.73 points for her "Black Magic Woman" short, which included a huge triple lutz-triple toe to open the program.

Kaori Sakamoto of Japan sits in third place with 58.75 points. South Korea's Da Bin Choi (57.21) and Japan's Yuna Aoki (56.67) are both within striking distance of the podium.

Team USA's Amber Glenn and Rebecca Peng finished sixth and 12th, respectively.

Men's

After a pair of fourth-place finishes in last year's series, Vasiljevs set himself up to win his first JGP medal. He recovered from a fall on his opening triple axel to nail the remaining elements in his "Puttin' on the Ritz" short, highlighted by a high-quality step sequence. He tallied 68.84 points for the segment.

Nicolas Nadeau sits in second, just 0.8 points behind the leader. Skating to music from Puss in Boots, the Canadian junior champion landed his triple axel as well as his triple lutz-triple toe, but he doubled his flip.

The only American in medal position after the first day of competition is Aleksei Krasnozhon. The Russian transplant effortlessly excuted all of his jumps (triple axel, triple lutz-triple toe, triple flip) in his program to Michael Jackson's "Jam," but his components lagged behind those of the top two finishers. He scored 67.53 points, good for third place.

The other U.S. entrant in the event, Paolo Borromeo, came in eighth.

Pairs

Renata Oganesian and Mark Bardei were the only one of the top three teams to skate clean. Performing to a piece of electronic music from the band Yello, the Ukrainian champions executed a fine triple twist and landed a throw triple salchow to come away with 51.35 points.

Pulling into second was Russia's Ekaterina Borisova and Dmitry Sopot, who earned a score of 49.77 for their martial arts-themed program. They, too, landed their throw triple salchow, but she fell on their side-by-side double axels.

Anna Duskova and Martin Bidar of Czech Republic suffered a fall on their throw and finished third.

Americans Lindsay Weinstein and Jacob Simon endured a rough outing and are eighth in a nine-team field.