• Kyodo

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Mai Mihara stood third after the short skate at the Cup of China on Friday, less than four points behind the leader Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada in the fifth Grand Prix series event of the season.

The 17-year-old Mihara, who in her first senior season finished third at Skate America last month, had a strong outing and earned a personal-best 68.48 points, toppped only by Osmond (72.20) and second-place Russian Elena Radionova (70.75).

Mihara’s compatriot Rika Hongo, 20, is also not out of the equation after coming sixth on 63.63.

Mihara nailed a triple lutz-triple toeloop combination to get off to a fine start and landed a double axel and triple flip late on, receiving top marks for all three spins.

“This is a score that I thought I’d never manage so I’m really happy,” said Mihara, who bettered her previous high by 2.73. “I’m glad I ended with a smile. I won’t get satisfied and will skate through to the end.”

Hongo was judged to have under-rotated a triple toeloop-triple toeloop combination but made no other mistakes, while receiving the highest marks for all her spins and step sequence.

“It’s a bit frustrating not to reach 65, I had the under-rotation which I didn’t have in the previous tournament,” Hongo said.

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