China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong beat slightly flawed Canadian and Russian gold medalist pairs in the World Championships short program in Boston.
Sui and Han, silver medalists at last year’s Worlds, landed side-by-side triple toe loops and a throw triple flip en route to 80.85 points, ranking them first on Friday and the No. 2 pair all-time under a 12-year-old scoring system.
The Chinese take a 2.67-point lead into the free skate Saturday (NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra, 2 p.m. ET), seeking their first World title.
“We are happy that we’ve done the best we can, but we don’t want to think too much about the placement or the score,” Han said.
Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, the defending World champs, totaled 78.18 for second place. Duhamel’s trail boot touched the ice on their throw triple Lutz.
Russian Olympic champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov, in their first Worlds since the Sochi Winter Games, erred in their India-themed program. Volosozhar two-footed a throw triple flip landing. They’re in third.
“This is also our first Worlds in three years, and it feels a little bit like the first time,” Trankov said. “It feels like we are not pardoned anything. It is a lesson for us.”
U.S. pairs Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim and Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea both counted falls by the men. They’re in seventh and 14th places, respectively.
“We had a beautiful program, and I don’t think we could have done the other things better today, but when you’re at an event like this, with these amazing athletes, these mistakes aren’t allowed,” Scimeca said.
MORE: Kimmie Meissner hopes U.S. medal drought ends
Pairs Short Program
1. Sui/Han (CHN) — 80.85
2. Duhamel/Radford (CAN) — 78.18
3. Volosozhar/Trankov (RUS) — 77.13
7. Scimeca/Knierim (USA) — 71.37
14. Kayne/O’Shea (USA) — 59.27