The pairs short program was the opening event of Skate Canada International taking place this weekend.
Duhamel/Radford are in the lead as expected with 69.57, even though no one expected them having such a tough bunch of competitors. Berton/Hotarek and Sui/Han, relatively in second and third, skated brilliantly, both teams scoring a personal best around 69.
The Italians, coming from a fifth place finish at Skate America last week, improved their short program of almost six points, getting a new national record.
Sui/Han were spot on as well: they nailed a beautiful triple twist (level four and positive goe across the board) and an easy throw triple flip. The positive surprise of their performance was the side by side triple toe, usually a nemesis for them, nicely executed.
That has to be said that Duhamel/Radford weren't at their best instead, as they fought with the landing of the throw triple lutz and the triple lutz side by side. However, the highest base value of the program and their superiority components wise, cause them to hold the first place.
In the ladies event Gracie Gold is surprisingly leading the short program, followed by Julia Lipnitskaia and Akiko Suzuki.
The 17 years old recently coached by Frank Carroll, skated impecably, hitting a triple lutz-triple toe combo and scoring 69.45 points (the second best short program score of the season).
Three points behind, Julia Lipnitskaia was clean too, but she received lower components scores.
Akiko Suzuki skated last and showcased all her maturity and artistry. She nailed a stunning triple flip and double axel as well as fabulous steps. A under rotation on the triple toe-triple toe was the mistake that caused her to drop into third place.