Japan's Yuma Kagiyama racked up his first win on figure skating's Grand Prix circuit in two seasons on Saturday, narrowly beating compatriot Shoma Uno to the men's gold at the NHK Trophy.
Leading after Friday's short program, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic silver medalist added 182.88 points in the free skate to total 288.39, finishing just 1.84 points clear of Uno at Towa Pharmaceutical RACTAB Dome in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture.
Olympic bronze medalist Uno, who scored 100.20 in the short program, earned the highest free skate score of 186.35. Switzerland's Lukas Britschgi took bronze with a 254.60 total after receiving the third-best free skate score of 168.18.
Kagiyama missed the entire 2022-2023 season with an ankle injury before winning bronze in his return to top-flight competition at the Grand Prix de France earlier this month.
The 20-year-old fell attempting a triple axel in Saturday's free skate but executed elements including a quad salchow and a quad toe loop combination as part of his routine choreographed with new coach Carolina Kostner.
"Until I was done, I didn't really think about the outcome. I was just focused on the things I needed to do on the ice today," Kagiyama said.
"Of course, the fall on the axel was a disappointment, but I was able to calmly execute all the elements, so I'll just focus and try to do much better again for the next competition."
Both he and Uno have booked their places at the Dec. 7-9 Grand Prix Final in Beijing. It will be Kagiyama's first trip to the competition open to the top six performers in each category over the Grand Prix season.
"It was so much fun and a pleasure to be skating with Shoma at the same competition. I get to do that again at the Grand Prix Final, so I'm looking forward to it," said Kagiyama, who previously won the NHK Trophy in Kadoma in 2020.
In the women's competition, U.S. teenager Ava Marie Ziegler jumped four places from the short program to pick up her first career Grand Prix win.
The 17-year-old Ziegler collected 138.46 points in the free skate to win with a total of 200.50. Short program leader and compatriot Lindsay Thorngren, also 17, finished second with 198.73 after scoring 129.80 in the free skate.
Belgium's Nina Pinzarrone rounded out the podium with 194.66 at Towa Pharmaceutical RACTAB Dome in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, in the sixth event of the series before the Grand Prix Final.
Japan's Yuna Aoki, Mai Mihara and Wakaba Higuchi were fifth, eighth and ninth, respectively, on home ice.