MOSCOW, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Reigning world champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan opened his grand prix season in Moscow on Friday by finishing second in the short programme behind Nathan Chen of the United States.
Chen recorded a season-best performance of 100.54 points at the first of six events to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Japan in December, which comes barely two months before the start of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
He had two shaky landings on his quad flip and triple axel jumps. He made up for it, however, with a spectacular combination of the quad lutz and triple toe loop.
“In terms of the programme, I‘m happy with the scores that I got,” Chen told a news conference. “I‘m going to have a lot of work going into the Games. But as of now I‘m happy with what I did and just have to keep my mind straight and keep working hard.”
Hanyu, the defending Olympic champion, made a difficult landing on the quad loop jump at the start of his programme before falling on his triple toe loop, earning him 94.85 points.
The 22-year-old – who set a short programme record score of 112.72 points last month — told reporters that “just little things” had gone wrong and that he was eager to refocus for Saturday’s free programme.
“I feel really close to success,” Hanyu said. “I will just fix those things for tomorrow. I will recover. I will do better tomorrow.”
Dmitry Aliev of Russia, who was taking part in his first senior grand prix, finished third with 88.77 points.
Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten, who won bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, finished 10th with 69.00 points after a disappointing performance that saw him stumble on his quad salchow and fall on his triple toe loop.
Ten suffered an ankle injury earlier this year and underwent extensive rehabilitation, setting him back in his preparations for the Games next year. (Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christian Radnedge)