US takes lead at figure skating's World Team Trophy

Vincent Zhou of the U.S. performs his men's short program routine during the ISU World Team Trophy Figure Skating competition Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai)
Nathan Chen, left, of the U.S. reacts with his teammates after performing his men's short program routine as team Japan is seen, right, during the ISU World Team Trophy Figure Skating competition Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai)
Japan's Shoma Uno performs his men's short program routine during the ISU World Team Trophy Figure Skating competition Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai)
Vincent Zhou of the U.S. performs his men's short program routine during the ISU World Team Trophy Figure Skating competition Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai)
Vincent Zhou of the U.S. performs his men's short program routine during the ISU World Team Trophy Figure Skating competition Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai)

FUKUOKA, Japan — Two-time world champion Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou combined for a 1-2 finish in the men's short program Thursday to give the United States the lead on the opening day of figure skating's World Team Trophy.

Skating to "Caravan" by Duke Ellington, Chen, a full-time student at Yale, landed a triple axel, a quadruple toe loop and a triple lutz-triple toe loop combination for 101.95 points.

Zhou, the world bronze medalist, opened with a quadruple lutz-triple toe loop combination and added a quad salchow and a triple axel to finish second with 100.51 points. Shoma Uno of Japan was third with 92.78.

The U.S. leads with 50 points, two ahead of Japan and 12 ahead of third-place Russia.

Rika Kihira of Japan opened with a flawless triple axel and finished first in the women's short program with 83.97 points. Russian skater Elizaveta Tuktamysheva was second with 80.54, followed by Kaori Sakamoto of Japan with 76.95.

The American women earned 17 team points as Bradie Tennell scored a season's best 74.81 in her short program to finish in fourth place. Mariah Bell was fifth after scoring 70.89 points.

Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, also world bronze medalists, were third in the rhythm dance.

"This is my first time at a team event and what a great way to start," team captain Hubbell said. "Team USA had all very strong performances. We have a team of Olympic members, U.S. champions, world medalists and world team members. Today showed how strong of a team we are."

Six countries are competing in the sixth edition of the World Team Trophy. The others are France, Italy and Canada.

The United States has won the event three times, in 2009, 2013 and 2015, while Japan took top honors in 2012 and in 2017.

The competition continues Friday and concludes on Saturday.

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