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Alissa Czisny Takes Early Lead

Alissa Czisny Takes Early Lead - Americans dominated the opening day of the Grand Prix final, with Alissa Czisny taking the lead Friday in the women's short program and Meryl Davis and Charlie White waltzing their way to the top of the pack in ice dancing.

Czisny, the 23-year-old Bowling Green student who won this year's Skate Canada and the 2009 U.S. title, took the lead with a performance that featured graceful combination spins. She finished with 63.76 points despite an off-balance triple flip.

"After last season, I took a hard look at my skating and made a lot of changes," Czisny said. "I'm very happy with my performance today ... my main focus for tomorrow is to skate well and not to worry about the outcome."

Despite an ongoing left knee injury, Carolina Kostner of Italy was second with 62.13 points. Kanako Murakami of Japan was third with 61.47 in her first senior Grand Prix final since moving up from juniors.

Alissa Czisny Takes Early Lead

Davis and White, the Olympic silver medalists, opened their performance with a sleek synchronized twizzle to music from La Boheme and finished off on music from La Traviata to score 68.64 points.

"Overall, the excitement was better but the twizzles weren't perfect," White said. "Right now, we're just concentrating on the free dance."

The Skate America champions finished ahead of French pair Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, who had their season's best score of 65.66 points. Hungarian duo Nora Hoffman and Maxim Zavozin were third with 55.98 points in their first Grand Prix final.

"We're in shock right now and we're very happy with today's performance," Hoffman said. "It's still a very close competition ... anything can happen tomorrow."

Alissa Czisny Takes Early Lead

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