Expect the unexpected, then expect the expected. That was what transpired on the first day of competition at the 2013 Hilton HHonors Skate America today in Detroit, Michigan. Japan's Tatsuki Machida took the men's short program by storm, while World champions Meryl Davis/Charlie White cruised to the short dance lead in the ice dance competition.
PLAY-BY-PLAY/VIDEOS: Men's short
Many expected a Japanese man to be at the top of the leaderboard after today's short program, but chances are they did not expect it to be Machida. He hit a quad toe-triple toe on his way to a clean short program that shattered his personal best score and earned him a 91.18, putting him over seven points ahead of the rest of the eight men in the field.
But the surprises did not stop there, as two Americans rounded out the top three - and even they were not the ones who were necessarily expected to contend. World junior silver medalist Jason Brown skated a clean short without a quad to sit in second in his Grand Prix debut. Teammate Adam Rippon attempted a quad lutz that was called underrotated but recorded a personal best of 80.26 to take third.
Japan's Takahiko Kozuka and Daisuke Takahashi, both expected to be at the top of the standings, made mistakes and are currently in fourth and fifth, respectively.
VIDEOS: Short dance
In dance, Davis/White made it look easy with their short dance, which placed them in first with a lead of six points. Italian stars Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte are comfortably in second with a 69.88, well ahead of the two other American teams who are in a tight battle for the bronze. 2011 World bronze medalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani are just a fraction ahead of teammates Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue going into the free dance.
The free dance and the men's free skate take place tomorrow.
MEN (after the short program)
1. Tatsuki Machida JPN - 91.18
2. Jason Brown USA - 83.78
3. Adam Rippon USA - 80.26
4. Takahiko Kozuka JPN - 77.75
5. Daisuke Takahashi JPN - 77.09
6. Max Aaron USA - 75.91
7. Alexander Majorov SWE - 74.97
8. Artur Gachinski RUS - 69.81
DANCE (after the short dance)
1. Meryl Davis/Charlie White USA - 75.70
2. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte ITA - 69.88
3. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani USA - 61.26
4. Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue USA - 60.71
5. Julia Zlobina/Alexei Sitnikov AZE - 54.53
6. Cathy Reed/Chris Reed JPN - 54.28
7. Pernelle Carron/Lloyd Jones FRA - 54.10
8. Isabella Tobias/Deividas Stagniunas LTU - 53.17