MOSCOW — Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are second after the rhythm dance at the Rostelecom Cup on Friday.
Russian pair Victoria Snitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are in first with 86.09 points, 3.5 points ahead of the Canadians.
Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin of Spain are a distant third with 72.01.
Gilles, of Toronto, and Poirier, of Unionville, Ont., won their first Grand Prix last month at Skate Canada.
"I think we're starting to learn how to compete how we practise at home," said Gilles. "We wanted to keep pushing, and didn't allow ourselves to calm down too much."
World junior champions Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., are eighth.
Meanwhile, Evgenia Medvedeva squeezed past rising Russian compatriot Alexandra Trusova to lead after the women’s short program.
Medvedeva, a two-time world figure skating champion and Olympic silver medallist , has had a disappointing spell after a foot stress fracture and switching coaches. She placed only fifth at Skate Canada. But her program in Moscow was assured and showed her noted artistic skills.
Her program components score, especially for music interpretation, gave her the edge over Trusova in a 76.93 total.
Trusova, with 74.21, was stronger technically, including a value-added triple lutz-triple toe loop late in her program. Trusova could yet overhaul Medvedeva in the free program, if she’s able to land three quads as she did when winning Skate Canada.
Mariah Bell of the United States was third, more than nine points behind Medvedeva.
Alexander Samarin, who won silver at the French Grand Prix two weeks ago, was at the head of a Russian 1-2-3 in the men’s short program. He started with a quad lutz-triple loop combination but fell on his following quad flip attempt, ending with 92.81 points.
Dmitry Aliev, the bronze winner at Skate America, aimed for the same opening combination, but turned the quad lutz into a triple. He followed with a quad toe loop to lie second on 90.64.
Makar Ignatov was the only skater to land two quads. He was third with 87.54.
Toronto's Nam Nguyen is sixth.
He delivered a clean program, landing a quad Salchow-triple toe combo, a triple Axel and triple flip.
"I'm really happy with how I put myself out there and I think it's really important for me to keep believing in my confidence," said Nguyen, the silver medallist at Skate Canada.
Russians also swept the top positions in the pairs short program, led by Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii, whose highly expressive skate to "My Way" scored 80.14. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov followed with 76.81 and Ksenia Stolobova and Andrei Novoselov were third at 68.74.
Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont., are fifth after a personal best 62.76.
The competition concludes on Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2019.