The fourth round of the International Grand Prix series started in China, where the men’s team had a strong lineup with two previous winners and the current world champion. Unfortunately, the short program did not show the expected fierce competition.
Sota Yamamoto, winner of Skate Canada, was only in 8th place after the first day of competition. His first quadruple toeloop – triple toeloop cascade failed completely, with an undercurl on the first jump, followed by a butterfly on the salchow and only three turns. The solo triple axel was landed with an under-twist and a hand touching the ice. The non-jump portion suffered as a result, where the step track and spins lost levels. Yamamoto received only 75.48 points for his exit, and his chances of competing in the series finals were drastically reduced.
Mikhail Shaidorov of Kazakhstan presented himself as one of the few skaters whose performance was error-free. He successfully performed a solo quadruple lutz, a triple axel and a quadruple toeloop – triple toeloop cascade. All jumps were high and with excellent twist, but the scores were low, which is typical for skaters from small federations. Shaidorov, performing to the soundtrack from “The Matrix,” received 89.94 points, placing third after the short program.
Adam Siao Him Fa of France faced a difficult situation after winning the home stage a week before his performance in China. He successfully performed a quadruple lutz and triple axel in his program, but a quadruple toeloop – triple toeloop cascade that started with a fall resulted in the loss of an entire element. Despite his attempts to forget about the fall and continue the program, the step track lost its brightness and emotionality. As a result, he received 91.21 points and took second place after the short program.
The leader was Sema Uno, two-time world champion, who cleanly performed all jump elements: quadruple flip, cascade of quadruple toeloop – triple toeloop and triple axel. His new program to the song “I Love You Kung Fu” with the addition of the classic “Clair de Lune” was a delight. Uno received 105.25 points for his skating, confidently leading after the short program.