Canada's Patrick Chan admitted that even he was surprised by his score as despite struggling to stay on his feet he led the men's short programme at the world figure skating championships here on Friday.
The defending champion scored a season's best 89.41 points for his skate to Paul Desmond's Take Five, despite two-footing his opening quad toeloop jump and twice struggling to hold his balance during the routine.
"I doubted it because of the footwork. It was a bit shaky. I was upset at myself for letting myself go like that," said the 21-year-old from Toronto.
"The ice seems pretty brittle to me. But I made the best of the situation and I was able to stay on my feet."
He added: "The free skate should be more about feeling than doubting myself. I want to show what I am doing every day in practice - two quads, triple axel."
Brezina, whose 22nd birthday was Friday, skated to a Japanese Kodo Drums routine and hit all his elements including a quad salchow and three triples.
"I think this is the best birthday present for me. Finally I skated this programme clean this season," said the Czech skater, who has never made the podium at a major event placing fourth twice both at worlds and Europeans.
"It's not only a season's best, but my personal best too. I am only two points behind Patrick so I'm really proud of myself."
Takahashi, runner-up behind Chan at the ISU Grand Prix Final and the Four Continents Championships, lost points after missing the triple toeloop jump combination after his opening quad.
But the Olympic bronze medallist recovered to nail his triple axel and triple lutz jumps in his "In the Garden of Souls" routine, and remains confident for his chances of reclaiming the title.
"I missed my first jump but it didn't effect the rest of the routine," the 26-year-old said. "I want to put everything I have into the free programme."
Home hope Brian Joubert, the 2007 world champion, pulled out a solid performance to put himself in the running for a sixth world medal.
"I'm happy that I finally could put it all together after two seasons where it just wouldn't happen," said the 27-year-old.
"It's the highlight of my career to skate a world championships in France."
Spaniard Javier Fernandez, bidding to give Spain a first world medal, is fifth on 81.87.
Meanwhile in pairs, three-time champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany will bid for their fourth world title later on Friday as they lead Olympic silver medallists Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China.
Source: AFP Global Edition