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Russian pair Tarasova, Morozov take lead at figure skating worlds

Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took a narrow lead after the pairs short program at the world figure skating championships in Saitama, Japan on Wednesday. 

Canada's Moore-Towers and Marinaro sit within reach of podium

Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov lead after the pairs' short program at the world figure skating championships. (Sergei Grits/The Associated Press)

Russia's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took a narrow lead after the pairs short program at the world figure skating championships in Saitama, Japan on Wednesday. 

The two skated to a score of 81.21 ahead of Chinese pair Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (79.24). China's Cheng Peng and Yang Jin sit in third with a score of 75.51. 

WATCH | Tarasova and Morozov sit 1st after pairs short program:

Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozv of Russia sit 1st after the pairs short program in Saitama, Japan. 4:00

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are within reach of the podium after earning a score of 73.08 to place them in fifth.

''There were some good points but overall we are a little bit disappointed,'' said Moore-Towers, who was sixth with her partner at last year's worlds. ''We had been training elements a lot better than we executed them today. Still the score is solid and that's a testament to the way we've been training.''

WATCH | Moore-Towers and Marinaro skate to fifth:

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro find themselves in 5th after their pairs short program at the world figure skating championships. 3:54

They'll try to climb up the standings on Wednesday when they compete in the free program beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET live on CBCSports.ca. 

Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont. made their worlds debut and are currently in 12th.

''As we expected we were tight and nervous,'' said Walsh. ''We fought for a lot of things so it was definitely one for the books.''

Zagitova leads women's short

Olympic champion Alina Zagitova produced a season-best score Wednesday to take the lead after the short program.

WATCH | Alina Zagitova's season-best performance:

Russian Olympic champion Alina Zagitova posted a score of 82.08 to lead the women's short program by 5.22 points at the world figure skating championships. 6:06

Zagitova opened her routine with a triple-Lutz, triple-loop combination and added a double axel and a triple flip for 82.08 points.

Japanese national champion Kaori Sakamoto was second with 76.86 points, while Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakstan was third with 75.96.

Two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia was fourth with 74.23.

Japanese skater Rika Kihira entered the competition with high expectations after beating Zagitova at the Grand Prix Finals but wasn't able to execute her triple axel and finished in seventh with 70.90 points.

Russian skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov skated to the lead in the pairs short program with a season-best score of 81.21 points. Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China were second, followed by teammates Cheng Peng and Yang Jin.

Two-time Olympian Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., skated a clean program but is only in 11th place. Still, Daleman remains confident heading into the free skate.

WATCH | Gabrielle Daleman's confidence-boosting program:

Two-time Olympian Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., sits in 11th place at the world figure skating championships. 6:40

''It felt so great to do that program,'' said Daleman, third at the 2017 worlds, who missed the Grand Prix season this past fall while dealing with mental-health issues. ''I've been working extremely hard in training and coming here was so emotional for me. It gives me a lot of confidence for the free program.''

Canadian champion Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., is 22nd and Aurora Cotop of Thornhill, Ont., placed 35th and miss the cut for the free skate. Only the top 24 advanced.

''Even though I had mistakes I kept the other elements together,'' said Chartrand. ''The free skate is the strongest of my two programs and I look forward to performing it.''

The men's short program is on Thursday.

With files from The Associated Press

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