Javier Fernández of Spain looks set to defend his title at the European Figure Skating Championships at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm after winning the men's short programme today.
Skating to Black Betty by Ram Jam in the Swedish capital, the two-time World Championships bronze medallist hit a good triple axel, but fell out of his quad Salchow and stepped out of the triple Lutz-triple toe combination.
He recovered well, however, to pick up a level four for the spins and footwork and scored 89.24 points.
"I dealt with the pressure well today, this time my problem was that I was too relaxed, in fact Brian [Orser, his coach] said to me that I was working at 'level two' (second gear), sometimes it is very difficult to find a good balance between being very excited and/or skating too relaxed," Fernández said.
European silver medallist Sergei Voronov of Russia sits in second followed by European Championships bronze medallist Michal Březina of the Czech Republic.
The other competition of the day, the ice dance short dance, saw French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron taking the lead.
The World Junior Championships silver medallists danced to Escobilla and Farruca by Christina Hoyos and included a level-four straight line lift, twizzles and Paso Doble sequence, as well as level three footwork to post a new personal best of 71.06 points.
"We are really happy with our performance and of course with this result," Papadakis said.
"Our goal was to finish in the top three.
"Many people expected us to be first, which put indeed a bit of pressure on us, but the situation now makes us really confident for the free dance."
Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin and Italian world and European gold medallists Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte placed second and third, respectively, in the short dance.
The competition in Stockholm is due to continue tomorrow with the ladies short programme and the free dance.
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