Shoma Uno won the men's short program, pushing Japan into a narrow lead at the International Team Trophy on Thursday despite a world-record score from Russian women's world champ Evgenia Medvedeva.
Uno just barely failed to match his personal best short program with 103.53 points but it was enough to leave him top of the men's field in the six-nation competition at Yoyogi Gymnasium. World champion Yuzuru Hanyu, however, flubbed his lines in the short program for the second straight competition and finished seventh among 12 skaters with 83.51.
"All my bad habits were there," said Hanyu, who won his second world championship recently despite finishing fifth in the short program. "I brought too much unnecessary emotion into this program."
In contrast to Hanyu's recent short program headaches, Uno said his issues with the abbreviated, prescribed program are working themselves out.
"My sense that I am bad at the short program has largely evaporated," he said. "Now I want to skate how I like (in the free program) and contribute to the team."
In the women's short program, Medvedeva set the bar high with a record 80.85 points. Teammate Elena Radionova was second with 72.21, while Japan's Mai Mihara was right behind with a personal best of 72.10. Japanese teammate Wakaba Higuchi was fifth with 71.41 in a packed field in which the second- and sixth-placed skaters were separated by less than two points.
Following up on her back-to-back world titles, Medvedeva reached one of her season goals here.
"Midway through the season, I set myself the goal of getting 80 points," she said. "I am thrilled that I have been able to achieve it."
Mihara finished by nailing a triple flip, a jump she failed to execute in her short program at the worlds that left her in 15th place before an incredible free program lifted her to fifth place overall.
"I didn't think they'd give me 72 points, so I'm pretty happy," the 17-year-old Mihara said. "I came into this competition determined to redeem myself with that jump (the triple flip)."
Higuchi, who brought down the house in Wednesday's practice by nailing the first triple axels of her skating career, also registered a personal best.
"Tonight was my best performance and my best score," said the 16-year-old Higuchi, who finished 11th at the worlds.
In the day's first event, the short dance, Japan's Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed were fifth with 63.77 points, while Madison Chock and Evan Bates won with 79.05.