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Personal-best short propels Krasnozhon into first

American in line to claim third career JGP title; Tarakanova leads ladies
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Team USA's Alex Krasnozhon sits atop the men's standings at JGP Croatia. -Getty Images

The first day of competition at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Zagreb, Croatia, saw skaters from the United States and Russia make their respective marks once again. Russia's Anastasia Tarakanova took top honor in the ladies short program, while teammates Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitri Kozlovsii won the pairs short. Two-time JGP gold medalist Alex Krasnozhon holds the men's lead over Canada's Joseph Phan.

Ladies

Tarakanova leads a field of 35 skaters after delivering a sound performance of her Ludovico Einaudi short. After opening with a powerful triple flip-triple toe combination, the Russian added a triple lutz and double axel in the second half of her program en route to earning a segment score of 66.58.

Not to be outdone, Japan's Mako Yamashita sits closely behind Tarakanova with 65.22 points. Like Tarakanova, Tamashita received all positive GOEs, opening her routine with a triple flip-triple toe combination. The 14-year-old also took advantage of the second-half bonus she was awarded on two jumps.

The second Russian to secure a place in the top three, Sofia Samodurova, picked up 62.43 points despite battling through a shaky opening combination.

Kaitlyn Nguyen of the United States finished the short program in eighth place with 47.28 points.

Men's

Krasnozhon, who won gold at JGP Australia in August, secured a new personal-best mark of 80.26 points for his "Korobushka" short. The American opened with a clean triple lutz and triple axel, and landed a clean triple flip-triple loop combination later in his program. He also earned three Level 4 spins, marks which aided in him taking a lead north of four points.

Phan opened with a powerful triple flip-triple toe combination and a triple axel on his way to earning a mark of 76.09. The Canadian was able to remain on the heels of Krasnozhon by wrapping up his program with a Level 4 step sequence and two Level 4 spins.

Japan's Mitsuki Sumoto skated clean as well, and the 73.18 points he earned for his Singin' in the Rain short helped him secure third place.

American Goku Endo, who made his Junior Grand Prix debut, sits 12th with 53.30 points.

Pairs

Boikova and Kozlovskii impressed the crowd by scooping up 61.23 point for their short, a mark that proved to be just 0.04 points shy of the personal-best score they earned at last season's world junior championships.

The Russians gained early momentum by nailing their opening Level 4 twizzles, and later displaying side-by-side jumps to go along with a throw triple lutz. Their final four elements -- including a lift -- all received Level 4 grading.

China's Yumeng Gao and Zhong Xie were impressive as well, but an edge call on their side-by-side double lutz set them back a bit. Their program was highlighted by Level 4 twizzles and a throw triple loop, and they find themselves second with 59.99 points.

Polina Kostiukovich and Dmitrii Ialin of Russia are in bronze-medal position with 59.68 points, while Team USA's Laiken Lockley and Keenan Prochnow sit fifth with 51.48.