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Peng/Jin completed a triple twist, throw triple loop and difficult lift © International Skating Union

China’s Cheng Peng/Yang Jin skated to the lead in the Pairs Short Program as Skate America opened Friday in Las Vegas (USA). Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin of Russia are currently ranked second, followed by US Champions Ashley Cain-Gribble/Timothy Le Duc.

Skating to 'Alegria' (Cirque du Soleil), Peng/Jin completed a triple twist, throw triple loop and difficult lift, but she stepped out of the triple toeloop. Nevertheless, the 2019 Four Continents bronze medalists earned a season’s best with 72.73 points.

“We made a mistake on the side by side jump (triple toe) obviously, but the rest of the elements were quite good and we’re satisfied overall with the performance,” Jin said.

“The hardest part at the beginning of the season is to get back into competition mode. It’s been half a year since the end of the last season,” added Peng.

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Russian pair Pavliuchenko and Khodykin scored 71.25 points © International Skating Union

Pavliuchenko/Khodykin’s program to 'The Storm' by Havasi was highlighted by a triple twist, side by side triple toeloop and an Axel Lasso lift with an original dismount. The 2018 World Junior Champions scored 71.25 points.

“It was a normal performance for us. There is always room to grow and we made a little error in the step sequence. Overall we lost two levels (on elements) in the performance,” Pavliuchenko said.

Cain-Gribble/Le Duc produced a triple twist and side by side triple Salchow in their routine to 'A Storm Is Coming' but she fell on the throw triple Lutz as they totaled 68.20 points.

“Skate America is a really special competition. It feels like we’re right at home. It’s wonderful to look up to the audience and see people that we know and love everywhere,” Le Duc said.

“We’re pushing ourselves to the next level at every competition. We know that our season is going to build as it continues with our main goal being at the World Championships, so we know this is one step along the road.” 

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Cain-Gribble/Le Duc took third place after skating to 'A Storm Is Coming' © International Skating Union

Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier (USA) came fourth (65.18 points) and Jessica Calalang/Brian Johnson (USA) placed fifth on 61.27 points.

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