TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Shoma Uno landed four quadruple jumps on Saturday to win the NHK Trophy and bolster his prospects for the figure skating event at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
First after the short program, the Olympic silver medalist received 187.57 points for a personal-best total of 290.15. Vincent Zhou of the United States was second with 260.69 followed by South Korea’s Cha Jun-hwan with 259.60.
Uno opened with a quad loop and followed with a quad salchow in his routine to “Bolero.” His only major mistake came when he could only manage a double flip instead of a quad.
“I was able to execute the jumps as I do in practice,” Uno said after also having two quad toe loops. “Completing those jumps early gave me a little breathing room in the second half of the routine.”
With Saturday’s win, Uno also qualified for the Dec. 9-12 Grand Prix Final in Osaka.
Two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu was forced to withdraw due to a right ankle injury.
Zhou, second after the short program, planned to open his routine with a quad lutz but could only manage a single. He recovered after that with four quad jumps but finished the free skate in sixth place with 161.18 points.
Zhou is the 2019 world bronze medalist and was coming off his first Grand Prix title at Skate America, where he upset favorite Nathan Chen.
Cha fell on his second element, a quad salchow, but landed the rest of his jumps. He finished fifth in the free skate but it was enough to maintain third place from the short program.
In the women’s event, defending champion Kaori Sakamoto held on to her advantage from the short program to win the free skate and lead a 1-2 finish for Japan.
Sakamoto’s routine doesn’t feature a triple axel. She opened with a double axel, a triple lutz and a triple flip-double toe combination. The 21-year-old then added a triple salchow, a triple flip-triple toe and a triple loop for a season-best score of 146.78 and a total of 223.34.
“One month ago it would have been hard to imagine today’s result,” Sakamoto said. “I don’t have a big element so I have to make sure I skate clean.”
Mana Kawabe fell on her opening triple axel but landed seven triple jumps in her routine to “Miracle” and scored 131.56 points for 205.44 overall.
South Korea’s You Young also fell on her opening triple axel but went on to land five triples to finish third with 203.60 points.
Alysa Liu of the United States opened with a triple axel but it was slightly under-rotated and she finished in fourth place with 202.90 points.
World champions Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov of Russia skated to the second Grand Prix gold medal of their careers in the pairs event.
Mishina and Galliamov led after the short program and received a score of 148.88 for their free skate for a total of 227.28.
The silver went to Russian teammates Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov on 213.27, while Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara took the bronze medal with 209.42.
World ice dance champions Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia won the free dance to claim the gold with a total of 215.44 points.
Two-time world medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States took the silver on 210.78. Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Britain were third on 191.91.
The next Grand Prix event is the Nov. 19-21 Internationaux de France.
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