MOSCOW, March 28 (R-Sport) - Sochi Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu crowned a golden season on Friday by winning the world title, beating fellow Japanese skater Tatsuki Machida in front of their home crowd in Saitama.
Hanyu, 19, had fallen in Thursday’s short program but produced a near-world record free skate to take first place with 282.59 points, just 0.36 more than overnight leader Machida, who won silver in his first world championship appearance.
Hanyu has now won the world, Olympic and Grand Prix Final gold medals in the same season, the first male skater to do so since Russia's Alexei Yagudin in 2002.
Spain’s Javier Fernandez had to settle for the bronze medal, slipping down one place to third in the free skate, in which he pulled out of one jump, but still managed a career-best total of 275.93.
The leading trio was far ahead of the rest of the field, headed by Russia’s 18-year-old Maxim Kovtun, who skated a strong free skate to take fourth place with 247.37, making up for a ragged short program. That result ensures Russia's two places at next year's world championships, a year after Kovtun finished only 17th at worlds, limiting Russia to a single entry this year.
Jeremy Abbott of the United States matched his best world championship result of fifth, posting a career-best score of 246.35 in his final competition before retirement.
There was bitter disappointment for 17-year-old Chinese prodigy Han Yan, who had been in the hunt for a medal but ended up seventh after coming only 11th in the free skate, and Czech skater Tomas Verner, who dropped from fourth to 10th.
Earlier in the day, Italy’s Anna Capellini and Luca Lanotte took the lead in the ice dance competition, scoring 69.70 in the short dance. They are 0.5 points ahead of Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, with third place held by Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat on 68.20.
Olympic gold medalists Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviev of Russia withdrew from the ice dance competition after Soloviev injured himself in morning training.