Ice Network

Radionova out in front following personal-best short

Pitkeev leads Fernández; Stolbova, Klimov sit first; Weaver, Poje in front
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Elena Radionova brought down the house with her rendition of her short to the French song "Je t'aime" by Lara Fabian. The world bronze medalist set a new personal-best score with 71.79 points, and she sits in first by more than four points. -Getty Images

The 2015 Rostelecom Cup opened Friday, as all four disciplines got underway in Moscow.

Ice dance

Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje topped the short dance. Italy's Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte sit just two points behind in second place. Russians Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are currently in third.

Dancing to "Annen-Polka" and "The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss, Weaver and Poje picked up a Level 4 for their twizzles and second waltz pattern, while earning Level 3's for their curve lift, the first part of the Ravensburg Waltz and the partial step sequence. The 2015 world bronze medalists came away with 69.49 points, a new season's best.

"I think that we skated fairly well. We've doubled the amount of training time for this program since we had two weeks before Skate Canada and now another two weeks before this event," Weaver said. "So, that feels great to have a little bit more mileage. We definitely can perform it better and we're looking forward to growing on this program and make it the best it can be."

Cappellini and Lanotte's waltz and polka to music from The Merry Widow by Franz Lehar featured three Level 4 elements: their twizzles, rotational lift and second waltz pattern. Their first Waltz pattern was rated a Level 2, however. The 2014 world Champions earned a season's-best score with 67.82 points.

"Skating-wise, we are 90 percent satisfied; it was a better skate than at Cup of China, but still not a 100 percent what this program can do,"
Cappellini said. "We made a couple of changes and we're still working on it, and hopefully, we'll be able to raise the bar with this program even more."

Sinitsina and Katsalapov delivered a smooth dance to Swan Lake, earning a Level 4 for their twizzles and rotational lift to post a season's-best score as well of 63.63 points.

"Our coaches and people whose opinion matters to us said that we took a step forward," 
Katsalapov said. "Compared to Skate America, it maybe felt a little harder to skate here, maybe because of the time change. We're already used to the time in the USA. Today we felt how the audience reacted to us, and we have conquered the fans."

Italy's Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri are in fourth place with 60.58 points, followed by Russia's Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khavalian with 59.03 points. Russian champions Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin finished sixth, as he fell on their twizzles (54.46 points).

Men's

Russia's Adian Pitkeev edged out Spain's Javier Fernández to take a narrow lead following the men's short program. Team USA's Ross Miner is in third.

Pitkeev landed a quad toe-triple toe combination, a triple axel and a triple lutz and collected a Level 4 for his spins and the footwork. The 2014 world junior silver medalist set a new personal-best score with 87.54 points.

"I was very nervous before the short program. I used to come here as a spectator only, and now, I'm skating here myself, and I wanted to do well", the 17-year-old said. "I am obviously very surprised to be in first place. It is a big success for me to be in this room (at the press conference) for the first time."

Skating to "Malagueña," Fernández turned in a triple axel, a triple lutz-triple toe combination and two Level 4 spins, but he tripled his planned quad salchow at the beginning of his routine. The world champion scored 86.99 points.

"Today and yesterday, I had a great practice, but the six-minute warmup was a little so-so; there was a fall and I couldn't get comfortable with the quad sal,"
Fernández said. "But tomorrow will be a different day, and hopefully, I'll have a better day. I have a lot of fans and friends here and it is always a great pleasure to come to Moscow."

Miner's performance to "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel included a triple flip, triple axel and triple lutz-triple toe combination. The American achieved a new personal-best score of 85.36 points.

"I was very focused on staying calm throughout my performance and I felt I did a really good job with that. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow to continue the same calm, methodic way of skating," Miner said.

Russia's Sergei Voronov remains close to the podium in fourth place with 84.17 points and Russia's Mikhail Kolyada is currently ranked fifth with 79.64 points. Germany's Peter Liebers withdrew before the short program due to injury.

Pairs

Russia's Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov topped the pairs short program ahead of teammates Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov. China's Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang are currently in third. All three couples posted a new season's-best score.

Stolbova and Klimov's performance to "I Put a Spell on You" was highlighted by a throw triple flip, side-by-side triple toes and four Level 4 elements. The 2014 Olympic silver medalists earned 75.40 points.

"It was very good; we almost did everything as planned," Klimov said. "After Skate America, we've been training a lot and we changed some things that seemed not so favorable for us."

Performing to "I Finally Found Someone," Kavaguti and Smirnov completed a set of triple toes, a triple twist and a throw triple loop to score 71.70 points on Kavaguti's birthday.

"We did our difficult elements, and we were nervous to skate at home,"
Smirnov said. "We want to thank the fans for their support. We've been able to work on the quad throw loop since China and we want to try it in the free skating."

Peng and Zhang produced a throw triple loop, triple twist and side-by-side triple toes in their routine "Norwegian Wood" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The duo picked up 68.10 points.

"We couldn't practice for six days, because we returned home after the short program in France and then came here to Moscow," Zhang said. "Yesterday was the first time for us to train again. So, considering that, I think we performed very well."

Italy's Valentina Marchei and Ondřej Hotárek sit in fourth with 62.43 points, followed by Natalja Zabijako and Alexander Enbert of Russia with 60.77 points.

Ladies

Elena Radionova of Russia placed first in the ladies short program. Canada's Alaine Chartrand is in second, while Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia sits in third.

Radionova opened her performance to "Je t'aime" by Lara Fabian with a solid triple lutz-triple toe combination and followed it up with a triple loop, double axel and Level 4 spins to earn a new personal best of 71.79 points.

"I'm happy for this moment, but I still can do better than that and I know what I can improve," Radionova said. "The tears at the end came, because I knew what I've been through -- the pain, the emotions -- and I skated with a lot of emotions. At the end, I couldn't hold back these tears of joy."

Chartrand's program music from the Pina soundtrack included a triple lutz-triple toe, triple loop and double axel. The Canadian achieved a new personal-best score with 67.38 points.

"I'm excited to be back in Russia. Last year was really exciting for me here, too," Chartrand said. "I won the short program and I was on the podium for the first time. I had a personal best in the short program score and I did it again. I've been training really well and I'm glad I showed that today."

Skating to Music from the Melodies of the White Nights soundtrack by Isaak Schwartz, Medvedeva fell on her triple flip but recovered to land a triple loop-triple toe combination and a double axel. The world junior champion received 67.03 points.

"I am not pleased for now, because I can do much better than this," Medvedeva said. "I will try to present myself tomorrow in the free skating and I know what I'm capable of. The fall came unexpected, because I skated cleanly in practice. I don't know the reason, but everyone makes mistakes and you have work on that and to perfect yourself mentally and physically."

Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia is in fourth with 65.48 points. Polina Edmunds sits in fifth (65.29 points), ahead of Japan's Rika Hongo, who has 63.45 points.