Russians reign supreme at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships
Russian skaters led the way at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Zagreb.
They clinched three of the top four spots after the short program with Anna Shcherbakova leading the way with 72.86 points.
Alexandra Trusova was second with 72.49 points while Kseniia Sinitsyna finished fourth on 66.52 points. American Ting Cui denied a Russian sweep with a score of 67.69 points to land in third place.
Shcherbakova kicked off her maiden Junior World Championship campaign by narrowly edging out the defending champion and training partner, Trusova, by 0.37 points.
She was the best of a field the field of 46 skaters who took to the ice at the Dom Sportova arena.
The 14-year-old who finished fifth at this season's Junior Grand Prix Final in Vancouver opened strongly with a double Axel.
Skating to 'A Comme Amour' by Richard Clayderman, her program included a triple flip and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination.
Shcherbakova arrived in Croatia fresh of her victory at the 2019 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Sarajevo and is coached by Eteri Tutberidze who also coaches PyeongChang 2018 champion Alina Zagitova.
Tutberidze also coaches Trusova who is looking to clinch for back-to-back titles.
The 14-year-old could not emulate her short program season's best of 74.74 points, scoring 72.49 points despite a clean skate.
Like her training partner, Trusova's routine included a double Axel, a triple flip and a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination.
Trusova will look to overhaul her compatriot in the free skate, which is strength and she currently holds the best free skate score of the season to-date.
Cui broke up the Russian domination with a score of 67.69 points to fcome in third.
The 16-year-old who finished eleventh at the Four Continents is in the hunt for her first worlds podium as she aims to better her seventh place finish at last year's event.
But with Sinitsyna only 1.17 adrift, she'll need another strong showing in the free skate to deny an all-Russian podium.
The top 24 skaters have qualified for the free skate which will take place on Saturday.