Korpi tops women's short program in Paris
A slick performance from Kiira Korpi saw the Finnish skater lead the women's short program with 61.39 points at the Trophee Bompard on Friday.
American skater Mirai Nagasu was second with 58.72, and Haruka Imai of Japan third on 58.38.
Mao Asada, the struggling world champion and Olympic silver medallist, finished seventh.
Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., is sixth with 50.51 points.
"I felt great on the ice," Phaneuf said. "I really attacked my jumps and I was pleased with how I fought through my Lutz after starting the jump crooked. Unfortunately I made a technical error at the end of my program which really cost me."
Korpi nailed her opening triple toe loop-triple toe loop jump and then her triple loop. Only a slight blemish on her flying sit spin negated an otherwise graceful effort.
"It was my best of this season," she said.
Nagasu, who finished third, felt upset about her performance.
"I am disappointed I didn't do my spins as well as I could have, but these are little things I need to work on," Nagasu said. "Tomorrow I just want to go out there and remember why I love skating and love to impress everyone."
World champion Mao Asada, already struggling for form, continued her slump as she finished in seventh after an erratic performance. She grounded her knee on her opening triple axel, and fell backward onto the ice on her fourth jump.
Korpi can qualify for Beijing if she wins here, but Asada's hopes are gone.
With the world championships looming in March in Tokyo on home ice, Asada needed to bounce back following dismal performances from the Olympic silver medallist at the Japan Open and the NHK Trophy.
Asada looked dejected as she skated off the ice with her hands on her hips, and received little comforting from new coach Nobuo Sato as she waited for her score of 50.10.
Asada, who won silver at the Vancouver Olympics, parted ways with Russian coach Tatiana Tarasova and has struggled to adapt to Sato, who previously worked with former world champion Miki Ando.
"Of course I'm not glad to see her make mistakes because I know how fabulous [a] skater she is," Korpi said.
With files from The Canadian Press.