MOSCOW (AP) — Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia was both languid and precise as she continued her domination of women's figure skating, nearly breaking her own world record with a superb short program at the Rostelecom Cup on Friday.
Nathan Chen of the United States landed two quads to take a strong lead after the men's short program of the cup, the first of the six-leg figure skating Grand Prix series.
Medvedeva's 80.75 points on Friday — just 0.1 points off her record — placed her more than six points ahead of 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy. Japan's Wakaba Higuchi was in third, more than 11 points behind the leader.
The program to a dreamy Chopin nocturne showed Medvedeva's characteristic penchant for raising an arm during jumps and for placing the jumps late in the program, which adds to the base value in scoring and heightens drama.
As world champion for the past two years, 17-year-old Medvedeva has showed staying power that she attributes to marshaling self-control amid the physiological changes of late adolescence.
"The most important secret is discipline," she said. "I can't eat what I want after 6 in the evening like I did before."
Kostner, at 30, is at an age when competitive skating is over for many, but said she is looking forward to pressing onward.
"I held a lot of emotions and I hoped I could transfer and communicate them to the audience," she said.
Chen, the American national champion, outpointed Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan by nearly six points in the short program, with 100.54.
Dmitri Aliev of Russia, in his first season on the senior circuit, was in third place, and trailing by another six points.
Chen followed his opening quad lutz with a triple toe loop that he landed awkwardly, but landed a quad flip confidently and late enough in the program to earn a bonus.
"I'm very happy with today," Chen said. "The ice was great."
He also said he liked the event's newly instituted sale of tickets to practice sessions, saying he thought having an audience added energy.
Hanyu stepped out of his opening quad loop and fell on his quad-triple toeloop combination.
"Tomorrow I wish to show a better result. For me this is the second Olympic season and I plan to work as much as before," Hanyu said.
Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov led the pairs after a short program highlighted by a high triple twist lift and her light landing of a triple loop throw. Compatriots Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, the 2014 Olympic silver winners, were five points behind after she fell on the side-by-side triple toeloop. Italy's Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek were in third.
In ice dancing, American brother-and-sister duo Maia and Alex Shibutani led after the short dance, followed by Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin.