Dazzling start for Yuzuru Hanyu at NHK Trophy
Kevin Reynolds 5th after short program; fellow Canadians Orford, Thomas Williams 4th in ice dance
Japanese teenager Yuzuru Hanyu improved his own world record in the short program on Friday to take the lead in the men's competition at the NHK Trophy, the sixth event of the International Skating Union's Grand Prix series, in Sendai, Japan.
The 17-year-old Hanyu, a native of Sendai, hit all his jumps for a score of 95.32 points to finish first ahead of compatriot Daisuke Takahashi (87.47) and Javier Fernandez of Spain (86.23).
Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., landed a quad-triple in combination, but lost points for his triple Lutz to stand fifth at 70.20. Andrei Rogozine of Richmond Hill, Ont., fell on his quad attempt and is ninth at 67.70.
Skating to Parisian Walkways, Hanyu opened with a quad toeloop and executed a flawless triple axel. He also had a triple lutz, triple toeloop combination en route to besting his world mark of 95.07 set at Skate America last month.
"I performed very well today," Hanyu said. "It's very satisfying to show these kinds of results for two competitions in a row."
Hanyu, who took silver at Skate America, will be looking to secure a berth in the Grand Prix Final next month in Sochi with a podium finish here.
Takahashi, who won silver at the Cup of China, touched down on his opening quad toeloop, but was solid the rest of the way in a lively routine to Rock and Roll Medley.
"I made some mistakes today with jumps and spins, but overall felt it was better than in China," Takahashi said. "This will give me some confidence heading into the free skate tomorrow."
Japan's Mao Asada received a season-best 67.95 points to finish first in the women's short program. Asada also can secure a berth at the GP final with a podium finish in this event.
Asada didn't attempt her trademark triple axel, but successfully completed a double axel, a triple flip, double loop combination and triple loop.
Mirai Nagasu of the United States was second with 61.18 points followed by China's Li Zijun with 59.62 points.
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the 2011 world champions, were first after the short dance with 69.86 points followed by 2011 NHK champions Maia and Alex Shibutani of the United States with 60.84 points. Russian skaters Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov were third with 59.96 points.
Nicole Orford of Burnaby, B.C., and Thomas Williams of Vancouver are in fourth place at 49.76.
Orford and Williams, in their first international season at the senior level, are looking to improve upon their eighth place finish at the Grand Prix stop in Moscow two weeks ago.