Gary Hunt and Orlando Duque are tied on points after Friday's Seeding Round at the Copenhagen Opera House.
All 14 divers performed their first required dive, with a fixed Degree of Difficulty of 3.8, to determine Saturday's head-to-head pairings, with vital competition points also up for grabs.
Gary Hunt, the winner of the first three World Series stops of 2015, has been a model of cliff diving consistency this year, but required dives have in the past caused the champion more trouble than might be expected. His ripped entry on an inward double somersault with half a twist was rewarded with 9s from the judges and a total score of 98.80 points. Orlando Duque, who is likely to be Hunt's closest challenger in 2015, kept the champion in check, however, ending the day on the same score after an impressive execution of a flying reverse somersault.
"That water definitely is a shock," said Hunt. "I felt cold on the end of the platform, so I didn't have the strongest of take-offs, but with a ripped entry I managed to get some scores out of the judges. I'm taking it slow for this competition – the risk for injury is even greater when you have cold water, so we're trying to find a happy medium to do enough dives in training to feel confident and not doing too much to be injured. The cold takes it out of you. But in general I feel like I'm definitely at the top of my game. The more and more dives that I'm doing I'm understanding what you need to do to get that rip entry on all my dives."
The USA's Andy Jones hit his new dive, a reverse double somersault, for 8.5s from the judges, while the UK's Blake Aldridge brushed off an adductor injury to place fifth after the first day.
The fourth stop of the 2015 World Series in Copenhagen continues on Saturday, with two rounds of head-to-head competition, which will include a battle between friends Artem Silchenko and Anatoliy Shabotenko and what is sure to be another very closely fought tie between David Colturi and Jonathan Paredes.
Seven divers will advance to the fourth and final round of competition, alongside one lucky loser - the diver with the highest cumulative score not to win his head-to-head.
Seeding Round results and head-to-head pairings
1. Gary Hunt (UK) - 98.80pts v 14. Jucelino Junior (BRA) - 64.60pts
2. Orlando Duque (COL) - 98.80 v 13. Steven LoBue (USA) - 68.40
3. Andy Jones (USA) - 96.90 v 12. Alain Kohl (LUX) - 72.20
4. Anatoliy Shabotenko (UKR) - 96.90 v 11. Artem Silchenko (RUS) - 83.60
5. Blake Aldridge (UK) - 95.00 v 10. Todor Spasov (BUL) - 85.50
6. David Colturi (USA) - 95.00 v 9. Jonathan Paredes (MEX) - 85.90
7. Kris Kolanus (POL) - 93.10 v 8. Michal Navratil (CZE) - 89.30
Log on to redbullcliffdiving.com/live from midday (CEST) to get updates in real time from Saturday's finals...