Hanyu looking for GP Final berth by defending NHK Trophy

SAPPORO, Japan (AP) Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan will reappear on the circuit at his home NHK Trophy this week to ultimately qualify for and defend his Grand Prix Final title.

Of the five previous grand prix events this season, Hanyu competed only in Skate Canada, and won silver. He's concentrating on perfecting his quads. There are six quads in his programs, and he became the first skater to land a quad loop in competition when he did one in each of his programs in September in Montreal.

He returns to the NHK Trophy, where he became the first skater last year to surpass a 300-point total.

Hanyu turns 22 a day before the GP Final from Dec. 8-11 in Marseille, France.

In the women's event, Four Continents champion Satoko Miyahara of Japan and world bronze medalist Anna Pogorilaya of Russia are the favorites.

Mirai Nagasu of the United States and world junior medalists Maria Sotskova of Russia and Wakaba Higuchi of Japan are also competing. Trophee de France silver medalist Sotskova and bronze medalist Higuchi have a shot at the Final. Other contenders include Alaine Chartrand of Canada and Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan.

Two-time world champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada will be the favorites in the pairs. They are also the two-time defending champions at the NHK Trophy.

Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada highlight the ice dance.

In their return to competition this season, they won the Autumn Classic in September and Skate Canada in October.