Figure skating world champion Kaori Sakamoto won the Challenge Cup in Tilburg, the Netherlands, beating short program leader Yuna Aoki in a 1-2 finish for Japan on Sunday.

Kaori Sakamoto performs in the women's free skate during the Challenge Cup figure skating competition in Tilburg, the Netherlands, on Feb. 25, 2024. (Kyodo)

The Beijing Olympic bronze medalist totaled 212.43 to win the non-ISU Grand Prix series event for the second time in a row.

Aoki, who sprang a surprise by outscoring Sakamoto in the short program, finished with a total of 209.37. France's Lorine Schild was third.

Japan's Tatsuya Tsuboi and Kazuki Tomono were second and third, respectively, in the men's competition won by Mikhail Shaidorov of Kazakhstan.

The 23-year-old Sakamoto will compete for her third straight women's singles title at the March 18-24 world championships in Montreal.

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