Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan grabbed the lead after Friday's men's short programme at the Rostelecom Cup, the fifth stage of the ISU Grand Prix series.
Hany, who took Olympic gold in Sochi and Pyeongchang and has also won two world titles, received a 110.53-point mark for a flawless rendition of his short routine to Raul Di Blasio's "Otonal" at Moscow's Megasport arena.
Georgia's Morisi Kvitelashvili, who was 24th in Pyeongchang, received 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, 7.61pts further back.
Ice dancers, pairs and women will compete later Friday with all the free routines to be performed on Saturday.
The women's line-up includes Pyeongchang Games champion Alina Zagitova, Skate Canada runner-up Mako Yamashita of Japan and Russia's Skate America bronze medalist Sofia Samodurova.
In pairs the 2018 world championships' runners-up Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia will try to to qualify for the finals after taking gold at Skate America.
In the ice dance section, Russia's two-time European bronze medalists Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin want to add another gold medal to their collection and qualify for the Grand Prix finals after winning the GP stage at Helsinki.