By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
Japanese pairs skaters Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara narrowly edged Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier at the Grand Prix Final on Friday in a rematch of their head-to-head showdown won by the Americans at the world championships. In the women’s competition, world champ Kaori Sakamoto of Japan leads after the the short program with a score of 75.86 points. Mai Mihara is second with 74.58 while Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx broke up a Japanese sweep of the top three spots. And in the rhythm dance, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Canada scored 85.93 to edge U.S. duo Madison Chock and Evan Bates by less than half a point. Italy’s Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri are in third.