NAGANO, Japan – World champions Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont., are in first place after the pairs short program on Friday at the NHK Trophy, the sixth stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Duhamel and Radford earned 71.04 points in their short program skated to Elton John’s Your Song. They are looking for a fifth straight victory on the circuit. Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim of the U.S. are second at 68.43 and Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin of China third at 67.00.

“We had to fight through this,” said Duhamel. “Our strength and training really showed today. We know we can do this program a lot smoother and we know if we want to be first against all the top teams we have to be better.”

“There were a couple of little miscues that never happened before,” said Radford. “But some quick thinking and we still pulled off a decent program.”

Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto are fifth at 63.80.

In men’s competition, Elladj Balde of Pierrefonds, Que., is 11th after the short program while Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, N.L. is eighth after the women’s short program.

The short dance and the free skates for men, women and pairs are on Saturday. The free dance is on Sunday.

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1516/gpjpn2015/index.htm