Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan grabbed the lead after the men's short programme at the Rostelecom Cup, the fifth leg of the ISU Grand Prix series, in Moscow on Friday.
Hanyu, who took Olympic gold in Sochi and Pyeongchang, earned 110.53 points for a flawless rendition of his routine to Raul Di Blasio's "Otonal" at the Megasport Arena.
Hanyu, also a two-time world champion, is bidding to win both of his ISU Grand Prix events in the same season for the first time in his career.
"I can't say my skating today was perfect but in general I'm satisfied with my skate," Hanyu said. "I didn't have too much time to prepare for this GP stage.
"In general I feel good. I don't know about tomorrow but I will try to do my best for tomorrow, too."
Georgia's Morisi Kvitelashvili, who was 24th in Pyeongchang, earned a personal best mark of 89.94 points for his short programme to "Bloodstream" by Tokio Myers to lie second after the opening day.
Swede Alexander Majorov is third on 82.33.
In pairs, this year's world championship runners-up Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia, who won gold at Skate America, grabbed the short programme lead with a solid presentation to "I Feel Good" by James Brown for a 78.47-point mark.
Italian duo Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise are second on 72.32 points, while Daria Pavliuchenko and Denis Khodykin are third.
Russia's two-time European bronze medallists Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin made some serious mistakes in their rhythm dance but still received 74.49 points to build a five-point advantage.
"We wanted to present a clean dance at our home ice," Bukin said. "We're a bit upset with our errors but we will try to show our best tomorrow. We can skate much, much better."
They are followed by American duo Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko, who earned 69.01 points, while third-placed Spanish pair Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin are on 66.40.
The women will compete later Friday with all the free routines to be performed on Saturday.
The women's line-up includes home darling and Pyeongchang Games champion Alina Zagitova, Skate Canada runner-up Mako Yamashita of Japan and Skate America bronze medallist Sofia Samodurova.