Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States lead the ice dance competition after a personal best score in the short dance programme, on the opening day of the World Figure Skating Championships in the Crown Indoor Stadium at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.
The first event of the five-day competition saw impressive performances from the short dance pairs, as the top three all set personal best scores, with Chock and Bates leading the way at the halfway stage of the competition.
Awarded a level four on all elements of their performance, including two Paso Doble parts, their straight line lift, twizzles and the side by side footwork, the pairing were rewarded with a score of 74.47 points.
"We are very happy with the performance today," Bates said.
"Today we achieved all level fours and I think that made a difference in our score and we want to do the same in the free dance."
The American pair will hope history does not repeat itself, having led the competition at the halfway mark of the Four Continents Championships, only to be denied gold by Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who lie second in China's biggest city.
Weaver and Poje recorded level fours for four elements of their performance, but were let down by a level two of a Paso Doble sequence, meaning they claimed 72.68 points for the performance.
The score keeps the Four Continents gold medallists in touch with the Americans ahead of Friday's (March 27) free dance programme, whilst they lead Italy's reigning world champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte and France's European gold medallists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, third and fourth in the standings.
The crowd were also treated to more personal best performances in the pairs short programme, with Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford topping the standings at the halway mark of the competition.
Duhamel and Radford were the last of 19 pairs to skate, but the duo proved to be worth the wait as the reigning International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix Final champions took the lead in the competition with a personal best score of 76.98 points.
"We are at one of the biggest competitions of our career and we're heading into the long programme for the very first time in first place," Radford said.
"Having a great skate in the shorts helps us feel more relaxed and also our scores allow us more freedom.
"Overall we feel very confident going into tomorrow."
The Canadian pair lead home favourites and two-time world champions Qing Pang and Jian Tong after the Chinese duo posted a season's best score of 72.59, as they look to reclaim the title they last won in Turin five years ago.
China also occupy third place in the standings through Weijing Sui and Cong Han as the duo were awarded 71.63 points, while Russia's Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov are fourth on 71.59 points, but will hope to move into the medal positions in tomorrow's free skate programme.
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