February 09, 2013
Kevin Reynolds landed three quads and finished with 250.55 points at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium.
Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

OSAKA, Japan (AP) -- Kevin Reynolds of Canada upstaged favorite Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan on Saturday to win the Four Continents event with a near-flawless free skate.

Reynolds was only sixth after Friday's short program but landed three quads and finished with 250.55 points at Osaka Municipal Gymnasium. Hanyu led after the short program but settled for second with 246.38 points, while China's Han Yan was third.

U.S. national champion Max Aaron, who was 10th after the short program, finished fourth after a strong free skate to music from "West Side Story."

Earlier, two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan re-introduced her trademark triple axel to take a comfortable lead over compatriots Akiko Suzuki and Kanako Murakami in the women's competition.

Americans Cristina Gao and Gracie Gold were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The 22-year-old Reynolds, who is a crowd favorite in Japan, opened with a quad salchow and also landed two quad loops in his routine. His only deduction was on a triple lutz.

"This is beyond anything I could have imagined," Reynolds said. "Going into the free program I was in sixth place, so I knew I had a chance if I did everything right in the free skate."

Reynolds said finishing second at the national championships gave him confidence heading to the Four Continents.

"I was able to do two strong performances at the nationals, so that gave me a lot of confidence coming here," Reynolds said. "But like I said, this is beyond anything I could have imagined."

World silver medalist Daisuke Takahashi of Japan finished seventh.

Asada hadn't attempted the triple axel in the four events she won this season, but did Saturday to finish with 74.49 points. Suzuki finished second with 65.65 points, while Murakami was third with 64.04.

Skating to "I Got Rhythm," Asada's sassy performance thrilled the capacity crowd and put her in a good position to regain the title she lost at last year's Four Continents to Ashley Wagner of the United States.

The inclusion of the triple axel will give Asada a boost heading to the world championships next month in London. She has been struggling with the triple axel since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but had no problems with it on Saturday.

"I've been saying I will include the triple axel at some point and was glad I did it today," Asada said. "I wasn't really sure it would be at this competition, but I felt good in practice so decided this was the time to attempt it and I was very pleased with the result."

Suzuki hit all her jumps in a lively routine to the "Kill Bill" theme song.

"Since the end of last year my jumps weren't that good," Suzuki said. "But they were much better today and that will give me a lot of confidence."

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