AFP – Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White performed a near flawless routine to outscore the favoured Canadian duo in the opening short dance round at the World Figure Skating Championships.

Davis and White outscored Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir 77.12 to 73.87.

On Thursday, Davis and White, the 2011 world champs, posted close to perfect scores for the performance and choreography of their spirited, high-speed romp set to selections from the ballet ‘Giselle.’ Their lightning fast twizzles were impeccable.

“It?s a really good sign that you?re having a good time when it?s fun (to skate) from beginning to end. It was one of those dream skates,” White said.

Virtue and Moir?s road to these championships had already been bumpy with losses to their American training mates at two major ISU events.

Her ongoing battle with a painful, chronic leg condition has tested the couple?s patience again this season, but Moir vowed they would “knock it out of the park” with their sultry Carmen finale.

The Canadians and Americans have had a lock on the top two spots on the podium since 2010 and that is unlikely to change here, but the stage has been set for an intense battle for the bronze medal.

Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev ranked third (70.05) with their short dance but the gap between them and the French, Italian and Canadian couples who trail in fourth through sixth places, respectively, is a mere 2.5 points.