PARIS -- A wobbly performance left Canadian pairs skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in second place after Friday's short program at the Trophee Eric Bompard.
Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., were silver medallists at Skate Canada International in October and are hoping to qualify for the season-ending Grand Prix Final in Sochi, Russia, next month.
But Duhamel fell on the landing of her triple Lutz.
The Canadians finished with 62.28 to trail Russians Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov (66.78).
"Eric and I are very disappointed with how we skated, we're never happy to fall. (Saturday) I assure you we will be perfect," Duhamel said. "This jump has been going so well for in the last few months that maybe I was too relaxed. It's not really a technical thing."
American Jeremy Abbott coped with a bad back to take the lead in the men's short program, pulling ahead of Japan's Takahito Mura and Frenchman Brian Joubert.
Abbott nailed all of his jumps in a restricted program to take a score of 81.18 points into Saturday's free skating program.
"After Skate of America I'm very happy to be in this position. It's been a bit of a struggle with my back," Abbott said. "I'm not at 100 per cent but I was very happy with my performance. We had to scale (my short program) back a bit."
Abbott was fifth at Skate America in October after falling twice, and said the back problem affects the nerve endings in his leg, making it even more gruelling to compete in Saturday's longer program.
"Tomorrow, if I make it through the long I'll be very happy," Abbott said.
Mura's only blemish was on his opening quad toeloop-triple toeloop jump and he earned a score of 76.65, while Joubert tallied 75.46.
"I'm surprised to be sitting in second place, I did what I could," said Mura, whose only blemish was on his opening quad toeloop-triple toeloop jump. "I put my hands down on the quad and didn't have enough speed on the step sequence."
The Trophee Bompard is the fifth of six events.