OSAKA, Japan (AP) — Two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan re-introduced her trademark triple axel to take a comfortable lead over compatriots Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami on Saturday at the figure skating Four Continents.
Asada hadn't attempted the triple axel in the four events she won this season, but did so on Saturday to finish the short program with 74.49 points. Suzuki finished second with 65.65 points while Murakami was third with 64.04.
Skating to "I got Rhythm," Asada's performance thrilled the crowd at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium and put her in a good position to regain the title she lost at last year's Four Continents to Ashley Wagner of the United States.
Cristina Gao of the United States was fourth with 62.34 points followed by compatriot Gracie Gold who had 60.36 points.