Japan's Satoko Miyahara was in second place among the women in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Cup of China after Friday's short program.
The 21-year-old Miyahara, a world championships bronze medalist two seasons ago, scored 68.91 points to trail Russian senior circuit debutant Anna Shcherbakova, who led with 73.51.
Miyahara under-rotated two jumps, while the 15-year-old Shcherbakova, who won Skate America in her Grand Prix debut, was nearly flawless.
"Although it wasn't a performance I can be satisfied, it was OK overall," Miyahara said. "I was nervous and my legs weren't moving well at the end. In the free skate, I want to execute everything I've been working on."
Amber Glenn of the United States was third with 67.69, while Japanese 18-year-old Marin Honda was sixth with 61.73.
Japan's Keiji Tanaka was seventh in the men's short program with 74.64 points. Chinese skaters took the top two places, with Yan Han's 86.46 leading the field followed closely by compatriot Jin Boyang on 85.43.