December 10, 2015

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan broke his own points record for a men's short program to take a commanding lead of the Grand Prix Final on Thursday.

The defending champion earned 110.95 points for his skate, surpassing his own record-breaking short program worth 106.33 from last month's NHK Trophy. Hanyu also broke the record for total points at the NHK Trophy with 322.40.

Local favorite and world champion Javier Fernandez skated last - immediately after Hanyu's stunning performance. The Spaniard was second with 91.52 points.

''It's true that I thought before going on that it doesn't matter what I do because he has over 100 points,'' said Fernandez, who finished second here to Hanyu last year. ''He will be very hard to beat, but I will try to do my best.''

Performing to Chopin, Hanyu nailed his opening quad salchow, and followed that with a flawless quad toeloop and triple toeloop combination before adding a triple axel. He was greeted with huge applause before skating and a standing ovation complete with a shower of flowers from his fans, many waving Japanese flags, when he finished.

Hanyu played down his big night, trying to stay focused on Saturday's free skate.

''Rather than getting more points, I just wanted to perfect my elements,'' Hanyu said. ''The free (skate) is another day. I just want to do another good performance.''

China's Boyang Jin was third with 86.95 points.

While the 21-year-old Hanyu took a big step to winning his third straight Grand Prix Final, former three-time world champion Patrick Chan had a disappointing start.

Chan failed to do the triple toeloop of an opening combination, and then added the same jump later in his program. The Canadian was left last of the six finalists with 70.61 points.

Earlier, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov topped the scores for the pair's short program with 74.84 points.

Fellow Russians Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov were in second place with 73.64, while defending champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were third with 72.74.

The Canadian pair, who also hold the world title, were on course for a bigger score until Duhamel fell while trying to land a throw triple lutz near the end of their program.

The pair's free skate and the women's short program and short ice dance are on Friday at the temporary rink inside Barcelona's International Convention Center.

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