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Japan, Russia tied after Day 1 at World Team Trophy

Host country technically leads due to tiebreaker; Team USA one point back
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Russia's Evgenia Medvedeva and Japan's Shoma Uno guided their respective countries to a tie atop the standings after Day 1 at the World Team Trophy. -Getty Images

Team Japan and Team Russia are deadlocked after Day 1 at the 2017 World Team Trophy, with the former occupying first place by way of a tiebreaker. Both teams have 44 points. Team USA is third with 43 points.

Strong performances by Shoma Uno, Mai Mihara and Wakaba Higuchi helped vault Japan to the top of the leaderboard. Uno put out a career-best short program that included a quadruple flip, quad toe-double toe combination and triple axel. The world silver medalist finished first in the segment with a score of 103.53.

Mihara landed a triple lutz-triple toe and triple flip in her "Rondo Capriccioso" short to earn 72.10 points, good for a third-place finish. Higuchi turned in a clean performance as well and ranks fifth with 71.41 points.

On the negative side, world and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu sits in seventh after popping his planned quad loop and almost falling on his quad salchow.

"I really believe everybody did their best and put in a great effort," team captain Kana Muramoto said. "We would like to work together as a team to make sure we cheer on our team, to fully support them from the beginning to the end.

"Most of our skaters did well. One of our guys didn't do his best, and all we can do is cheer him up."

Russia relied on the strength of its ladies to equal Japan's point total. World champion Evgenia Medvedeva established a new record score for the short program with 80.85 points with a performance that featured a triple flip-triple toe combination, triple loop and three Level 4 spins. Two-time European silver medalist Elena Radionova hit a triple lutz and triple loop-triple toe combination to finish second in the short with 72.21 points.

Ice dancers Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev aided the Russian cause by coming in third in the short dance, while Mikhail Kolyada placed fourth in the men's short with a personal-best mark of 95.37.

"The World Team Trophy is one of the hardest competitions of the season, because it is the last one; everybody is tired, and this reflects on the performances," Bobrova said. "But at the same time, it is one of the most cheerful events; you are usually only skating for yourself, but here, obviously, the team result depends on your placement. Tomorrow we will try do better (in dance), and we expect good performances from the men and pairs."

Madison Chock and Evan Bates got Team USA off to a good start by winning the short dance. The two-time world medalists scored 79.05 points with their "Bad to the Bone"/"Uptown Funk" routine that got the crowd going. Nathan Chen added 11 points to the team tally by coming in second in the men's short program, nailing a quad flip-triple toe and quad toe. Jason Brown sits in fifth after a clean program that was highlighted by a triple axel, triple flip-triple toe and excellent spins.

Team captain Ashley Wagner and Karen Chen finished just sixth and eigth, respectively, in the ladies competition.

"Today was a great day for Team USA. We have some newbies, and they handled this event very well," Wagner said. "Our men did exactly what they needed to do tonight. I'm pretty happy with my own performance, and I think that Karen will definitely bring it in the long program, and we're obviously very happy with where Maddie and Evan ended up."

China, Canada and France occupy the fourth through sixth positions, respectively.