Alina Zagitova got off to a strong start at the World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, on Wednesday, taking the top spot in the ladies short program with a score of 82.08.
"I was pleased to get a season-best score and appreciate the support of the Japanese fans," the defending Olympic champion said after her performance, which included a double axel and a triple flip alongside a triple lutz and triple loop combination, per the Associated Press. "I want to do my best here."
"During this season, I actually experienced many mistakes during practice and that made me more nervous," she added, per OlympicChannel.com. "But thanks to tremendous support from my coaches, I was able to overcome those mistakes and errors and really get prepared mentally which was what I needed to do for this competition."
The result was defeating Japan's Kaori Sakamoto (76.86) and Kazakhstan's Elizabet Tursynbayeva (75.96).
"I was able to execute everything as I did in practice and will aim to do that again in the free skate," Sakamoto noted.
Japan's Rika Kihira, the favorite coming into the competition, botched a triple-axel attempt and ended in seventh place (70.90), while Americans Mariah Bell and Bradie Tennell finished in 6th and 10th place, respectively.
The full results from the ladies short program can be seen at ISUResults.com.
In the pairs short program, meanwhile, Russians Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov sit atop the standings after Wednesday with a score of 81.21, followed by two Chinese pairs, Sui Wenjing and Han Cong in second (79.24) and Peng Cheng and Yang Jin in third (75.51).
The French team of Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres were the favorites coming in to the event, but like Kihira, they surprisingly struggled, finishing seventh with a score of 68.67.
There was a bit of controversy in the warmup as well, as James and Matteo Guarise collided on the ice, per Rachel Lutz of NBC Sports. Both were OK, though the situation was hardly ideal for either side:
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“We’ve had some hard situations but we always push through them.” Vanessa James 🇫🇷 tells Olympic Channel she suffered no serious injury in a warm-up collision and expects to skate in the free. More in our #WorldFigure blog. 👉 https://t.co/jpZhFnjseS https://t.co/4UH2cFMj1L
The full results are at ISUResults.com. Thursday's events include the pairs free skate and men's short program.