Yuzuru Hanyu lost Japanese Nationals for the first time in eight years, taking silver behind Shoma Uno on Sunday.
Hanyu, competing at nationals for the first time since 2015 after injury-marred seasons, led by 5.01 points after the short program but had several jumping errors in the free skate, including falling on a triple Axel.
“There is no good point at all from today’s performance,” Hanyu said, according to the Japan Times, adding to Kyodo News. “I did my best. I wasn’t good enough, and now it’s over.”
Uno, the Olympic silver medalist who struggled in the fall Grand Prix Series, outscored Hanyu by 12.81 in Sunday’s free skate. He landed three quadruple jumps in the free — one fewer than Hanyu — but was much cleaner overall with just one negatively graded jump.
“It was not my best skate, but I feel like I really enjoyed it,” Uno said, according to the Japan Times. “I have had a really hard time this season and finally could enjoy the training and competition for the first time in a while. If everyone skates their best, the result should be different.”
Uno earned his fourth straight national title but his first with Hanyu in the field. The duo combined to win the last eight nationals. Uno became the first skater to beat Hanyu other than Nathan Chen, Javier Fernandez and Patrick Chan in more than five years.
Both Hanyu and Uno will be on Japan’s three-man team for the world championships in Montreal in March, where they will be medal contenders along with two-time reigning world champion Chen.
Daisuke Takahashi, the 2010 Olympic bronze medalist skating singles for the last time, finished 12th. Takahashi is now expected to start competing in ice dance.
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