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Joannie Rochette, from Ile Dupas, Que., performs Friday during the short program in the women's competition at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. ((Mark Ralston/Getty Images))

Canada's Joannie Rochette is in the hunt for a medal at the world figure skating championships in Los Angeles after a strong performance in Friday's short program.

Rochette, from Ile Dupas, Que., skated a clean program and sits in second place, with a score of 67.90. She received a standing ovation for her performance to George Gershwin's Summertime.

"The thing I'm the most proud of was I was reaching to the audience more," Rochette said.

Rochette's only mistake was a minor flaw, doubling a planned triple toe loop.

Korea's Yu-Na Kim leads the competition after her spectacular performance in the short program received a mark of 76.12. Kim trains in Toronto with former Canadian star Brian Orser.

Defending champion Mao Asada of Japan is in third with a score of 66.06.

Rochette, who was fifth at last year's world championships, has never won a medal in a world or Olympic event. Elizabeth Manley was the last Canadian to win a medal on the world stage, when she won silver at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Rochette, 23, has been enjoying the best season of her career, defeating Asada at an event in November. Rochette also finished second in the Four Continents championship in Vancouver in February.

"Just having more confidence, my training has been going very good," Rochette said. "I've had a consistent season, so of course coming here I felt much better about myself so it's easier to reach out to the audience."

Canada's other entry in the women's competition, Cynthia Phaneuf of Sorel, Que., struggled in her short program, falling on one of her jumps. She is in 15th place, with a score of 53.14, heading into Saturday's free skate (CBC Bold, CBCSports.ca).

With files from the Canadian Press