Mao has not been at her best since winning the world title in 2010. The 2010/11 season was a complete disaster, as she looked to reconfigure her jumping technique. She had a promising start to the 2011/12 season, but then her mother sadly passed away and not surprisingly, her form dipped thereafter.
If Mao is going to realise her dream of becoming Olympic champion in 2014, then with just 2 years to go before the Olympics, the 2012/13 season is going to be a make or break season for her. At the very least, she needs to be on he podium at Worlds. Nevertheless, I think she can be a major contender for the world title again. She had an excellent grand prix season during 2011/12, and but for the tragic death of her mother, she probably would have had a much better second half to the season. However, I really do think it is time for the triple axel to go. Her PCS during the grand prix just got better and better. She therefore just doesn't need the triple axel, and she should continue to improve her triple lutz. If she can sort out the lutz without flutzing, then that would completely remove the pressure upon her to keep trying for the triple axel.