The figure skater from Japan skated clean in Krasnoyarsk to lead after the Short Program
Mai Mihara was flawless.
The Konan University student managed 75.92 points with a clean skate to lead from Russia's Stanislava Konstantinova (70.25) and compatriot Hina Takeno (67.69).
Skating to 'It's Magic' from Romance on the High Seas, Mihara opened with a triple Lutz-triple toe combination.
She then followed that up with a double Axel into a flying sit spin and a text book triple-flip to outscore the other 34 competitors.
After missing out on making the squad for the World Championship finals, Mihara will be looking to end her season with a win in Krasnoyarsk.
Russia's Konstantinova led the standings for most of the event having been the third skater to take to the ice.
This season's GP Finland runner-up scored 70.25 points with a program that included a double Axel and a triple-Lutz-triple toe combination.
The 18-year-old from St. Petersburg slightly lost her balance in the back camel position but manged to recover well and went on to finish her skate without any other issues.
The podium is far from decided with Takeno currently third with 67.69 points just 0.12 points clear of Kazakhstan's Elizabet Tursynbaeva in fourth.
Zahra Lari from the United Arab Emirates who has been pioneering the sport in the Middle East finished in 29th place.
The top 24 skaters from the field of 35 will take part in the free skate on Saturday at 0500 UTC which you can watch live on Olympic Channel.
2 - 12 Mar 2019
Winter Universiade - Krasnoyarsk