Kaori Sakamoto and Yuma Kagiyama among leaders at the Asian Open Trophy after first day

Kaori Sakamoto at the 2021 Asian Open Trophy in Beijing. (Photo by Zhao Wang/AFP via Getty Images)

The fifth International Skating Union (ISU) Challenger Series competition of the season – the 2021 Asian Open Trophy – is taking place in Beijing, China and serves as the test event for the 2022 Winter Olympics. After the first day of the event, Japanese figure skaters – Kaori Sakamoto and Yuma Kagiyama – took the lead of each of the individual disciplines.

Sakamoto landed a double axel to start her short program routine, and later completed a triple Lutz and a triple flip-triple toe loop combination. All of her spins and her step sequence were deemed Level 4. The 21-year-old figure skater received a score of 76.70 points – just one point fewer than her personal best score of 77.78 points, which she achieved at the 2021 World Team Trophy.

2017 Four Continents champion Mai Mihara completed the same jumps as Sakamoto, but received a negative grade of execution for her combination and her step sequence was ruled Level 3. The 22-year-old Japanese representative received a score of 67.83 points for her short program performance and is currently in second place.

Having just competed in her native Finland last week, Jenni Saarinen managed to find herself in third position after the short program over six thousand kilometers across the world this week. She landed a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination to begin her performance, and completed a triple Salchow and a double axel. Saarinen received a score of 62.25 points.

Results after short program:

  1. Kaori SAKAMOTO (JPN) – 76.70
  2. Mai MIHARA (JPN) – 67.83
  3. Jenni SAARINEN (FIN) – 62.25
  4. Joanna SO (HKG) – 53.50
  5. Yi ZHU (CHN) – 52.88
  6. Nicole SCHOTT (GER) – 52.84
  7. Kristina ISAEV (GER) – 52.43
  8. Tzu-Han TING (TPE) – 51.84
  9. Hengxin JIN (CHN) – 51.27

Judges’ Scores

2021 World silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama landed a quad Salchow and then a quad toe loop-double toe loop combination to start his short program performance, later completing a triple axel as well. The 18-year-old received Level 4 ratings on all of his spins and his step sequence. Kagiyama received a score of 97.80 points for his presentation.

2019-2020 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final winner Shun Sato completed a quad Lutz, a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination, and a triple axel. The 17-year-old Japanese figure skater received a score of 90.77 points for his performance.

Two-time World bronze medalist Boyang Jin fell on his opening quad Lutz-triple toe loop combination but managed to complete his subsequent quad toe loop and successfully landed a triple axel. The 24-year-old five-time Chinese national champion earned a short program score of 85.02 points.

Results after short program:

  1. Yuma KAGIYAMA (JPN) – 97.80
  2. Shun SATO (JPN) – 90.77
  3. Boyang JIN (CHN) – 85.02
  4. Deniss VASILJEVS (LAT) – 84.75
  5. Junhwan CHA (KOR) – 74.47
  6. Lukas BRITSCHGI (SUI) – 69.07
  7. Yudong CHEN (CHN) – 66.37
  8. Sihyeong LEE (KOR) – 66.09
  9. Zhiming PENG (CHN) – 55.16
  10. Lap Kan YUEN (HKG) – 48.62

Judges’ Scores

In the pairs’ discipline, 2018 Olympic silver medalists and two-time World champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han took the lead after the short program among all Chinese opposition.

Sui and Han successfully completed a side-by-side triple toe loop and, later, Sui landed a triple flip throw attempt. They received a score of 79.27 points for their performance.

Results after short program:

  1. Wenjing SUI / Cong HAN (CHN) – 79.27
  2. Cheng PENG / Yang JIN (CHN) – 66.41
  3. Yuchen WANG / Yihang HUANG (CHN) – 61.70
  4. Siyang ZHANG / Yongchao YANG (CHN) – 57.86

Judges’ Scores

Among two couples in the ice dance event, four-time Chinese national champions Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu took a commanding lead over compatriots Hong Chen and Zhuoming Sun.

Results after rhythm dance:

  1. Shiyue WANG / Xinyu LIU (CHN) – 75.67
  2. Hong CHEN / Zhuoming SUN (CHN) – 62.33

Judges’ Scores

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