Stolbova/Klimov had not their best program today. There were some exceptional elements such as the side by side triple toe and the side by side spin. The triple twist wasn't great and in the landing of the throw triple flip Ksenia's free leg slightly touched the ice. However, with some good GOEs and the highest components score of the afternoon assured them a 71.38 that put them in first place.
Kavaguti/Smirnov skated a superb short to the music of Meditation from Thais by Massenet. They were flawless technique wise, doing a side by side triple toe, a good triple twist that is usually their nemesis and a throw triple loop. Their elegant program was worth 33.44 points as components score for a total of 69.86
James/Cipres, despite having had a difficult fall season due to injuries, skated their best with energy and attack and got a surprising third place. They nailed a not so clean triple twist, a very good side by side triple toe and a huge throw triple lutz. 60.13
Marchei/Hotarek debuted as a couple at the European Championships short program. They skated early in the second group. Valentina Marchei did her first appereance as a pairs skater. Their performace was very decent considering her unexperience in the discipline; they nailed a side by side triple salchow, a double twist and a throw triple flip. Even though new pairs always need some time to rodate, Marchei/Hotarek are the perfect match as a debuting couple because Valentina is a good single skater and Ondrej is very experienced as a pair skater. 57.95
Tarasova/Morozov were serious contenders for a medal position. They opened with the best elements of their program, a gorgeous triple twist, but then started to faltered. At first Eugenia doubled the side by side triple toe and stepped out of the throw triple loop. The other technical elements had a high quality, but the mistakes cost them few positions. That has to be said that they have all the potential to recover from their debacle and improve their ranking in the free skate, even with three points separating them from third place. 57.13