(October 30, 2009 - BEIJING, China) – Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Craig Buntin of Kelowna, B.C., stand in fifth place after the pairs short program on Friday at the third stop in the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

In pairs, two-time world champions Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao of China are in first spot at 72.28, Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov of Ukraine are second at 62.98 and Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze of Russia third at 62.54.

Duhamel and Buntin, eighth at the world championships last year, skated to a string quartet version of Hotel California and are fifth at 55.08.

In women’s singles, Mirai Nagasu of the U.S., is first after the short program with 62.20 points. Kiira Korpi of Finland is second at 61.20 and Carolina Kostner of Italy third at 61.12.

World championship silver medallist Joannie Rochette of Ile Dupas, Que., stands seventh at 52.12 and Diane Szmiett of Watford, Ont., in her senior circuit debut, is 11th.

Rochette points total was hit hard when she doubled her triple Lutz and singled her Axel.

‘’She had been very good in practice but these things unfortunately happen,’’ said Michael Slipchuk, Skate Canada’s director – high performance. ‘’These are all building blocks towards the bigger events later this year and you take each experience for what it is. She’s upset about not having a satisfying skate but tomorrow is another day.’’

In ice dancing, Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the U.S., lead the field at 98.66 after the compulsory dance and original dance, both held on Friday. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, both of Waterloo, Ont., were fifth after the compulsory dance but slipped to eighth overall after the original.

In men’s singles, Nobunari Oda of Japan leads after the short program with Sergei Voronov of Russia second and world champion Evan Lysacek of the U.S. third. Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., is 11th. Reynolds, landed a triple Axel but didn’t fully rotate his quadruple Salchow and it was downgraded.

‘’There were some really good clean programs skated all around today,’’ said Slipchuk. ‘’So if you had little mistakes here and there it was hard to make up that ground.’’

The free skates in all four events are on Saturday and will be carried live on-line at www.skatebuzz.com beginning at 1:50 a.m. (EDT) with the women’s long program.

For more information visit: www.isu.org

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