' The French duo, bronze medallists at the 2017 championships in Ostrava, produced an impressive display that took them straight to the top of the leaderboard on the first day of competition at Moscow’s Megasport Sport Palace.

James, 30, and Cipres, 26, who have competed together since 2010, racked up 75.52 points, getting the better of Russian pairs Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert (72.95) and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov (72.05).

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However, James admitted she wasn't satisfied with her and Cipres' display.

"We normally skate a little more smoothly and liberated, a little bit faster, more in unison," she said.

Meanwhile, Javier Fernandez's bid for a sixth straight European title got off to a superb start as he topped the standings in the men's short program competition.

The two-time world champion, 26, racked up 103.82 points, finishing more than 12 points ahead of Russia's Dmitri Aliev (91.33) and Latvian Deniss Vasiljevs (85.11).

"We were not looking for perfection," said the Spanish skater.

"We were looking to have one more practice before the Olympics. I think it was a good short program facing the big competition that is coming up. We’re happy."

Competition in Moscow continues tomorrow with the ladies' short program and the pairs free skating section.

Sportsbeat 2018

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