Sofya Biryukova of Moscow (MOS) took the lead in the ladies short program after performing a clean and passionate routine to Libertango.
Biryukova landed a solid triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination and solo triple flip, but her double Axel out of a spread eagle was somewhat tentative. The student of Viktoria Volchkova posted 62.97 (37.93/25.04) points which included a +3.00 bonus that the Russian Figure Skating Federation awards to ladies landing a clean triple-triple combination.
"It is the first time that I participated in Senior Nationals," said Biryukova at the post-event press conference. "I'm very pleased to be here and skate so well. I felt a lot of support from the audience today."
Biryukova (15), who was who was born three weeks after the July 1st cut-off, also confessed that she did not expect to do quite so well. "In the beginning of the season I was not even sure that I would qualify for the Nationals, but as the season progressed I grew more and more confident and started to believe that I would be here. I am so happy to do so well today."
Ksenia Makarova of St. Petersburg (SPB), another Senior Russian Nationals debutante, is virtually tied with Biryukova with 62.75 (34.49/28.26) points. The Junior Grand Prix finalist attempted the same jump content, however the second triple in her triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination was underrotated. Nonetheless, higher program components scores for her floating and smooth interpretation of music from the Ladies in Lavender soundtrack allowed her to catch up with her rival.
"For me it is also the first National championship and I am pleased to skate so well," Makarova said. "I skated pretty well, but I was so tired... maybe because it was my debut. You always can perform some elements better, but I think it was my best performance in this season. At the most important moment, too. I think it will be easier tomorrow.