Fernandez leads Trophee de France; another first for Chen
PARIS (AP) — Two-time world champion Javier Fernandez recovered from a fall on his first jump to take the lead in the men’s short program at the Trophee de France on Friday, while American teenager Nathan Chen enjoyed another skating first.
Skating to “Malaguena,” performed by Paco de Lucia and Placido Domingo, the four-time European champion from Spain fell on his quadruple toe loop attempt on the Palais Omnisports ice but stayed calm. He then perfectly delivered a quadruple salchow-triple toe loop combination and landed a triple axel.
Fernandez, who won the Rostelecom Cup last week in Russia, will go into Saturday’s free skate with a 3.72-point lead over Nathan Chen. World and Olympic medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan was a distant third, 7.36 points back.
Fernandez, who said he needed to improve his short program after his second place in Russia, was happy with the adjustments he made.
“Although I still fell on the quad toe, I’ve improved my spins and steps,” he said.
Chen, already the first skater to perform four quadruple jumps in a free skate during competition in January at the U.S nationals, became the first to land a quadruple lutz and a quadruple flip in the same program.
“I’m not trying to make history, I’m just setting personal goals,” the 17-year-old Chen said after making a successful debut on the senior circuit.
Fresh from her win at Skate Canada, world champion Evgenia Medvedeva captured the women’s short program with a strong and fluid performance. She opened with a triple flip-triple toe loop then landed a triple loop and a double axel, scoring 78.52 points. Gabrielle Daleman of Canada, who placed fourth at Skate America, was 5.82 points behind. Debuting on the senior Grand Prix, world junior silver medalist Maria Sotskova of Russia was third.
Meanwhile, world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron delivered a commanding performance for a nearly 10-point lead in the ice dance. Competing in their first ISU Grand Prix event this season, the French skaters scored a personal best of 78.26 points in the short program and were 9.54 points ahead of Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin.
Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were in third place, with 66.77.
“There is no pressure any more for the placing,” Cizeron said. “Our main goal now is to give 100 percent tomorrow and to perform a fine free dance.”
The Trophee de France is the fourth event of the Grand Prix Series. Held in Bordeaux last year, the event was canceled after the first day of competition because of the terror attacks in Paris.
The Cup of China and the NHK Trophy later this month will be the last chances for ice skaters to qualify for the GP Final from Dec. 7-11 in Marseille, France.
In the pairs competition, Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany led with 77.55 ahead of Russians Evgenia Tarsova and Vladimir Morozov (76.24).