November 14, 2014

MOSCOW (AP) The raunchy edged out the refined in Friday's men's short program at the Rostelecom Cup, as Spain's Javier Fernandez took the lead to the raucous strains of ''Black Betty.''

The rock classic was in sharp contrast to the refined Saint-Saens music that accompanied his closest challenger, Sergei Voronov of Russia. Japan's Takahiko Kozuka was in a distant third, some 12 points off the lead, in the fourth of six Grand Prix rounds.

Alaine Chartrand of Canada led the women after the first day, ahead of Japan's Rika Hongo and Anna Pogorilaya of Russia.

Russians swept the short program in pairs, topped by Olympic team gold medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov. They were followed by Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, and Kristina Astakhova and Alexei Rogonov, both duos in their maiden season of international seniors competition.

After the short dance, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates were first, ahead of Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin and Britain's Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland.

Despite the difference in Fernandez's and Voronov's taste in music, they were both in top technical form. The Spaniard opened started out with a sizzling quad salchow; Voronov's opening quad toe loop wasn't quite as vivid, but he added value by tacking on a triple toe.

As to his musical choice, Fernandez laughed off any suggestion that delicate audience ears might be offended. ''If they don't enjoy the music, they can enjoy the skating,'' he said.

Voronov, generally overshadowed by Evgeni Plushenko, seemed to be finding his groove at age 27.

''The puzzle fell together just fine,'' he said of his program, which earned the night's top elements mark.

Chartrand was all confidence and grace on the ice, but she was cheerfully flustered off it.

''I've actually never been to a press conference; I've never been in first place,'' the Canadian exclaimed to reporters following the short program.

Chartrand, also in her first season on the senior circuit, appeared assured right from the start, opening with a double axel, quickly followed by a soaring triple lutz in combination with a triple toe loop.

After placing seventh at this year's Skate Canada two weeks ago, ''I was looking to improve on that. I really just wanted to have big jumps, clean jumps,'' she said.

Hongo started with a strong pair of triple toe loops, but Pogorilaya's opening combo went awry when she stepped out of the first jump, a triple lutz.

The Russian, who won gold at Skate Canada, said skating before home-country fans ''was a colossal experience ... despite the errors I made.'' What went wrong wasn't clear to her. ''I was lacking something, missing something.''

Stolbova and Klimov were the most conceptually adventurous of the pairs, with their program to ''Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'' that drew on martial arts moves.

This was a strategic choice as well as an artistic one, Klimov said, noting that the next world championships are in Shanghai and the pair wants to appeal to the local crowd.

''Martial arts are very popular in China,'' he said.

Mirai Nagasu and Ashley Cain of the United States were in fourth and fifth after the women's short program, with enough points to medal if their free skates are strong. Fellow Americans Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier were fourth after the pairs short program, but 15 points behind the leaders.

Americans Max Aaron and Jason Brown were in sixth and seventh respectively after the men's short program.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)