KENT, Wash. -- Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took the Skate America pairs lead Friday night, scoring 65.78 points in the short program.
The Russians were second in the last two world championships and last year's Grand Prix final.
China's Qing Pang and Jian Tong were second at 61.96 after Jian fell early in the routine. They finished second in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and won world titles in 2006 and 2010.
Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin were third at 60.75, followed by France's Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres at 55.76.