Ice Network

Duhamel, Radford skate to lead in NHK pairs short

Kavaguti, Smirnov more than eight points back in second; Yu, Jin take third
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Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were the class of the pairs field, posting a segment total of 72.70 and opening up a lead of more than eight points. -Getty Images

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada skated to the lead in the pairs short program at the 2014 NHK Trophy. Russia's Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov finished second, ahead of Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China.

Duhamel and Radford's performance to "Un peu plus haut" featured side-by-side triple Lutzes, a throw triple Lutz, a triple twist and four Level 4 elements. The world bronze medalists scored 72.70 points.

"The way we skated today is how we skate every day in practice. This is how we aim to skate at every competition," Radford said. "It feels amazing to skate like that, and we're really looking forward to carrying the momentum into the long program."

The Canadians received the same score here as they did at Skate Canada last month. 

"We had a very strong skate at Skate Canada in the short program. I think that this program here was a little bit better," Radford continued. "We somehow managed to score, I think, the exact same score at Skate Canada, so we are very consistent."

Skating to "Meditation" from Thais, Kavaguti and Smirnov produced a triple twist and throw triple loop, and their lift, death spiral and spin all earned Level 4. The 2010 European champions earned 64.60 points.

"We are very pleased with our performance today," Smirnov said. "It was really nice to skate for a Japanese audience and judging from the warm reception, they also were happy to see us."

Yu and Jin completed a triple toe and triple twist, but Yu stepped out of the landing of the throw triple loop in their routine to "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)" by Dead Can Dance. The world junior champions picked up a season's best 60.15 points.

"I tried to relax in today's performance in the short program. I made a little mistake in the throw jump, and my memory from Cup of China came back to me and I got nevous and wasn't able to skate as I usually do," Yu said. "Tomorrow I hope I will be more relaxed."

Vera Bazarova and Andrei Deputat of Russia are within striking distance of the podium, at 59.62 points.