Tuktamysheva marches on in Hiroshima
Former World and European champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva kept her chances of qualifying for the ISU Grand Prix Final in rude health by carving out a lead at the NHK Trophy on Friday.
The 21-year-old Russian, who won World and European titles in 2015 in Shanghai and Stockholm respectively, has constructed a narrow advantage in the ladies' program after coming out on top in the short program.
So far, so good then for Tuktamysheva, who took gold at Skate Canada last month, and landed another second triple axel of the season in Hiroshima, Japan, to rack up 76.17 points, ahead of home skaters Satoko Miyahara (76.08) and Mai Mihara (70.38).
"I'm happy to skate well because I was more nervous than at Skate Canada," said Tuktamysheva.
"I could not sleep well, so I hope I will have more energy for the free skate. I hope to recover better than I did at Skate Canada.
"I think with the new rules I can compete better this season.
"There is no secret to my triple axel – it is thanks to my coach (Alexei Mishin)."
Tuktamysheva's score ranks as the second-highest this season behind Olympic champion Alina Zagitova.
Meanwhile, Shoma Uno, a silver medallist at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, fell over attempting to land a quadruple toe loop but he still topped the tree in the men's short pairs.
The 20-year-old, who also picked up world silver in Milan in March, has 92.49 points, narrowly ahead of Russia's Sergei Voronov (91.37) in second.
A Russian duo also leads the pairs competition following the short program, with Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert (73.48) ahead of China's Peng Cheng and Jin Yang (70.66), and Canadian partners Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro (67.70).