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Petrov, Hochstein in virtual tie after Nebelhorn short

U.S. skater lands quad-triple; Firus close behind in third; Dolensky seventh
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Russia's Alexander Petrov leads the men's competition at the Nebelhorn Trophy by the slimmest of margins -- 0.13 points. -Getty Images

Russia's Alexander Petrov leads Team USA's Grant Hochstein by 0.13 points after the short program at the 2016 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Petrov, who trains in Alexei Mishin's school in Saint Petersburg, finished with 75.13 points after hitting four clean triple jumps and gaining Level 3 for four elements in his short to "The Dance of Fire." His five program component scores averaged about 7.1.

"I did a good short program today, but a quad was missing," Petrov said. "The idea of the music came from my coach, Alexei Mishin. I play a sorcerer who tries to make fire."  

Hochstein, who trains in Artesia, California, under Peter Oppegard and Karen Kwan-Oppegard, scored exactly 75 points. He opened his short to Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" with a clean quad toe-triple toe combination, but he fell on his triple axel. His triple lutz was a bit shaky, but his spins and presentation were good, and his components averaged around 7.5.

"Two weeks ago I did a quad-double combination; today I did quad-triple, so I am on [the right path]," Hochstein said. "But there is certainly room for improvement.

"When my coaches came up with the idea of 'Rhapsody in Blue,' I originally did not like it," Hochstein continued. "But then they came with a counter suggestion of a jazzy version by Duke Ellington, and now I like my program."

Liam Firus is third with 74.57 points. He fell on his triple axel, but his six other elements -- including his triple flip and triple lutz-triple toe -- were clean.

Skating to "Happy Ending" by Mika, the 24-year-old Canadian showed an improved style. In the early summer, he left Vancouver and went to Montreal to train under Bruno Marcotte.

"Bruno is a gift for me -- I can learn so much from him," Firus said. "If I miss a jump, I know exactly why."

Julian Zhi Jie Yee of Malaysia, who trains in Barrie, Ontario, under Michael Hopfes, sits fourth with 72.59 points. The 21st-place finisher at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships, Yee skated a clean program with four triple jumps.

American Timothy Dolensky sits in seventh with 67.76 points. He opened his program to "Awake my Soul" by Mumford and Sons with a quad salchow, but it was downgraded, and he lost more ground when he fell on his triple axel. He rebounded to land a triple flip-triple toe combination and perform three excellent spins, two of which were graded Level 4.