Three points separate the top four male skaters after the short program in the second stage of the Cup of Russia series in Moscow.
Evgeny Semenko started his program with a quad, landed a clean triple axel, and added a triple-triple combination. Skating to Russian music, Semenko received praise from Tatiana Tarasova, who was commentating the event, and earned a total score of 85.83 points
17-year-old Artem Kovalev, who won at the first stage of the Cup of Russia series, again wowed the crowd with a strong performance. Training with Alexander Volkov and representing Angels of Plushenko, Kovalev landed his opening quad Salchow, a triple axel, and completed a triple-triple combination for a clean skate and a total score of 83.85 points.
Artem Lezheev did not try a quadruple jump but performed a clean program with all triple jumps – triple axel, triple Salchow, triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination – and received a standing ovation with a short program score of 83.32 points.
Former silver medalist at the European Championship Alexander Samarin landed his opening triple axel attempt but the rest of his jumps featured mistakes. The 22-year-old received a higher total program component score, into the forties – 44.30 points – to earn a short program result of 82.77 points.
Silver medalist at last season’s Russian Junior National Championship, 18-year-old Petr Gumennik also received a total program component score into the forties. That, as well as a triple Lutz-triple loop combination earned him a score of 79.51 points.
Mark Kondratyuk fell on his opening quad attempt but landed his next jumps, including a quad Salchow-triple toe loop combination, and earned a score of 77.01 points.
24-year-old Anton Shulepov fell on his quad jump but landed a triple axel and a further triple-triple combination. Strong artistry helped earned him a score of 74.22 points.
21-year-old former World Junior champion Aleksey Erohov, who changed coaches from Eteri Tutberidze to Viktoria Butsaeva this season, opened up his short program with a strong quad Salchow, and then held on to the axel, but messed up his combination attempt. He received a score of 71.25 points.
The pressure of the competition got the better of Nikita Vakhrushev; the young skater made multiple errors, falling twice and failing to complete a combination jump. He settled with a score of 48.01 points with two deductions.
Results after the short program:
- Evgeny Semenko – 85.83
- Artem Kovalev – 83.85
- Artem Lezheev – 83.32
- Alexander Samarin – 82.77
- Petr Gumennik – 79.51
- Mark Kondratyuk – 77.01
- Anton Shulepov – 74.22
- Alexey Erohov – 71.25
- Nikita Vakhrushev – 48.01