TORONTO: World and European champion Evgenia Medvedeva produced a short program personal best score of 76.24 points on Friday to seize control of the ladies’ competition at Skate Canada, second stop in the ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix.
The 16-year-old Russian landed all of her jumps cleanly as she bettered her previous short program best of 74.58 set at last season’s Grand Prix Final.
The sparkling performance gave her a 1.91-point lead over Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond, the surprise Skate Canada winner last year.
Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, the 2015 world champion, is in third place, 9.45 points off the lead.
Medvedeva became the youngest world champion since Tara Lipinski in 1997 with her triumph in Boston in April.
Since winning the junior world title in 2015 she has been all but unstoppable, with victories in the Grand Prix Final, the European championships and worlds.
Competition in Mississauga, Ontario, in the Greater Toronto area, continued later Friday with the pairs short, dance short and men’s short programs.
Medals will be decided with all four free skates on Saturday.
Japan’s 2014 Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu and silver medallist Patrick chan are set to renew their rivalry.
The two dueled at last year’s Skate Canada in Lethbridge, Alberta, where Chan emerged triumphant as Hanyu rallied from a disappointing seventh place in the short program to grab silver.
Since then Hanyu has become the first man to complete a quadruple loop jump in competition, at the Autumn Classic International in Montreal earlier this month.
Two-time world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are among the favorites in ice dance after a win in the Autumn Classic with another Canadian couple, two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, top contenders for pairs gold.