Olympic champion Kim Yu-na of Korea captured the short program at the World Figure Skating Championships.
Kim, who skipped last year's Worlds after finishing second at the 2011 championships, placed first Thursday with a score of 69.97. She won gold at the Vancouver Games in 2010 and made a return to skating this year with her focus on the Worlds and defending her Olympic title next year in Russia.
Italy's Carolina Kostner, last year's world champion, finished second Thursday with a score of 66.86, followed by Japan's Kanako Murakami at 66.64. Murakami was fifth last year.
Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond placed fourth in the short program, followed by American Ashley Wagner, who was just off the medal stand with a fourth-place finish at last year's Worlds.
Last year's silver medal winner, Alena Leonova of Russia, placed a distant 13th on Thursday, while 2012 bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki of Japan was seventh.