Russian "Queen" Elizaveta Tuktamysheva topped the short program at the NHK Trophy skating competition on Friday, beating Satoko Miyahara a local favorite after a dazzling display.
Former world champion Tuktamysheva won a standing ovation after making a triple axel and lutz landing in Hiroshima, the fourth leg of the six-event grand prix series.
The score is 76.17 points which is the second best behind Olympic champion Alina Zagitova.
Miyahara Japan finished just 0.09 points behind Tuktamysheva with Mai Mihara's daughter scoring 70.38 and South Korea's Lim Eun-soo fourth at 69.78.
"I was a little nervous but I made it through quite well," said twice world medalist Miyahara after one best season. "That's a great way to start."
Tuktamysheva and Miyahara are both pursuing the second grand prix title of the season.
Russia's Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert took the form of their title winners from Helsinki last week into the short pairing program, setting the best score of 73.48 points.
Peng Cheng and Jin Yang China continued to deal with 70.66 in front of Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro, who scored 67.70 points.
Olympic and world silver medalist Shoma Uno crashed into ice which tried to fold four toes but still led after a short male program with a score of 92.49 points.
The hot red favorite has a 1.12 point advantage over Russian Sergei Voronov, while the other Russian Dmitri Aliev is third in the free skate weekend.
"I really did it," Uno said. "I have no regrets – only a fall. But I will regroup and give everyone in free skate."
This week's competition is key for some skaters who hope to qualify for the December 6-9 Grand Prix Final in Vancouver.
Former world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva grabbed a standing ovation after making triple axel and lutz attempts