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Shoma Uno reasserts dominance in figure skating return

Shoma Uno Cup of China

CHONGQING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 10: Shoma Uno of Japanperforms during the Men Short Program of ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating-Cup of China at Huaxi Sports Center on November 10, 2023 in Chongqing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang - International Skating Union/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

International Skating Union via Getty Images

Two-time world champion Shoma Uno posted the world’s best short program score this season in his first competitive skate in seven months.

Uno, a 25-year-old from Japan, landed a quadruple flip and quad toe loop in a 105.25-point short program at Cup of China, his season debut event.

He leads Adam Siao Him Fa of France by a gaping 14.04 points going into Saturday’s free skate, live on Peacock.

“I did a good job with the jumps today and the whole package. The speed was not as good,” Uno said, according to the International Skating Union. “As for the presentation, I don’t think I did such a good job.”

CUP OF CHINA: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Uno overtook 18-year-old American Ilia Malinin as this season’s short program leader. Malinin tallied 104.06 points at Skate America last month.

Malinin has the world’s best total score this season -- a 310.47 from Skate America, which would have won last March’s worlds by 9.33.

Uno will look to overtake that on Saturday ahead of a likely showdown with Malinin at December’s Grand Prix Final. Uno is undefeated since taking bronze at last year’s Olympics, a run that included two world titles.

Earlier Friday, two-time world medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium topped the women’s short despite singling a planned double Axel.

Favorites Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps of Canada lead in pairs and now own the world’s top three short program scores this season.

Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha were the surprise rhythm dance leaders after fellow Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier lost points on a twizzle sequence.

Gilles and Poirier, two-time world medalists, won their last four Grand Prix starts, including last year’s Grand Prix Final.