Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu won Chinese gold in ice dancing ©Getty Images

Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu clinched the first figure skating gold of Sapporo 2017 with a superb ice dancing performance to New York, New York here today.

The Chinese duo held a slender lead of just 1.28 points over Japanese rivals Chris Reed and Kana Muramoto after the short programme.

It meant there was all to play for in today's free skate. 

Helped by the encouragement of flag-waving home supporters, Reed and Muramoto scored a strong 159.14 to lay down the mantle.

But Wang and Liu held their nerve superbly while performing to the Frank Sinatra hit as they edged further ahead for a total of 162.28.

Victory here followed a seventh place finish at last week's Four Continents event in Gangneung.

"This is our first Asian Winter Games and to win the gold in our debut at the tournament is very satisfying," said Liu. 

The three medal winning couples pose following the ice dance competition ©Getty Images
The three medal winning couples pose following the ice dance competition ©Getty Images

It marked the second successive Chinese victory in this event after Huang Xintong and Zheng Xun triumphed six years ago in Astana.

Reed, who has a Japanese mother and an American father, also won silver in 2011 alongside sister Cathy.

Another Chinese pair, Chen Hong and Zhao Yan, took bronze after they finished on a total of 142.42.

North Korea are also on course to become just the fifth country to win a medal at Sapporo 2017 when the pairs competition finishes tomorrow.

Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik lie in third place after today's short programme on 65.22

Yu Xiauyu and Zhang Hao of China lead on 77.90 while team-mates Peng Cheng and Jin Yang lie second on 67.24.