Madison Chock and Evan Bates danced to a narrow lead in the Short Dance on the first day of the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow to edge out Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev by just 0.12 points.
Dancing to the blues 'Bad to the Bone' and hip-hop 'Uptown Funk', the American 2016 world bronze medallists earned 75.04 points, a level four curve lift, level four twizzles and a level four Blues pattern the highlights of their routine.
Russian champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev set a new season's best of 74.92 points, with two-time world medallists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada finishing in third.
"I just have to say how happy we are to be back at Cup of Russia," said Chock. "This is our third time here and we really love this competition.
"It was a great performance for us. Every time we perform this programme we get more comfortable, especially when the audience gets involved."
Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev
Image credit: AFP
In the men's short programme, Japan's Shoma Uno edged into the lead, with Spain's Javier Fernandez and Mikhail Kolyada of Russia occupying second and third places.
Skate America champion Uno landed a wobbly quad flip and quad toe-triple toe combination in his routine, before continuing with level four sins and footwork and a strong triple Axel to score a personal best of 98.59 points.
"My performance wasn't exactly perfect, there are things to work on for me, but overall I think it was a good performance," said the ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medallist.
In the pairs short programme, Russians Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert secured a narrow lead over Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot in second and Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy in third.
Zabiiako and Enbert set a new personal best with 69.76 points, executing a triple twist, side by side triple toe and throw triple loop before picking up a level four for the spin, lift and step sequence.
And in the ladies' short programme, it was an all-Russian podium as Anna Pogorilaya topped the standings, with Elena Radionova and Julia Lipnitskaia in second and third respectively.
World bronze medallist Pogorilaya hit a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, triple loop, double Axel and two level four spins on her way to achieving a season's best score of 73.93 points, just short of her personal best.
"Overall, I did what I can do," she said. "I was just a little jumpy on the footwork, because I got overwhelmed by happy emotions.
"I tried to hold them back, but I couldn't and it was reflected a bit in the steps."