NAGOYA, Japan – Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are in a big battle for the ISU Grand Prix Final ice dance title. The 2010 Olympic and three-time world champs stand second after Thursday’s short dance.

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are in first place with 82.07 points. Virtue and Moir, undefeated since returning to competition last season, follow at 81.53 and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. are third at 78.09.

‘’The plan is to peak in February (at the Olympics) and we are on track,’’ said Virtue, from London, Ont. ‘’Our performance was a step up from what we did this season on the Grand Prix circuit.”

The veteran Canadian skaters don’t seem too worried about placement.

‘’Hopefully we can have another great skate Saturday and build our confidence for the Olympics,’’ said Moir, from Ilderton, Ont.

In pairs, two-time Canadian world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are fifth after the short program at 72.18 in a competition that’s too tight to call heading into Saturday’s free skate.

‘’Having those little bobbles can detract a bit and that affected our second mark,’’ said Radford, from Balmertown, Ont.

The pair made a mistake on their side-by-side triple Lutz and throw triple Lutz.

‘’The throw was a little bit stuck on take-off which resulted in not the same flow when I came out,’’ said Duhamel, from Lively, Ont. ‘’Still, we were committed to our performance and we felt pretty good about it.’’

Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany are first after the short program with 79.43 points. Defending champions Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia follow at 78.83 and world champions Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China are third at 75.82.

Competition continues through to Saturday.

Full results: Grand Prix Final 2017 Senior and Junior