FENCING: U.S. men’s Foil wins World Cup opener; Itkin gets silver

American fencers had a good opening weekend in the FIE World Cup with three medals and a fourth-place finish in three competitions in Germany, Estonia and France:

• Men’s Foil in Bonn:

The powerful U.S. team includes four men ranked in the top 30 in the FIE World Rankings, so much was expected. But perhaps not from 47th-ranked Nick Itkin, 19, who won his first career World Cup medal with a third in the individual tournament!

He won two tough matches in the opening rounds and then found himself in the Round of 16 against no. 1-ranked and 2018 World Champion Alessio Foconi of Italy. No problem for Itkin, who squeezed out a 15-14 to win to reach the quarterfinals. There he took down the 2016 Olympic Champion, Italy’s Daniele Garozzo by a 15-9 score! He then faced his third straight Italian star in the semis, but came up short by 15-10 against Andrea Cassara, a Team gold medalist from the 2018 World Championships. Not a bad day at the office.

Britain’s Richard Kruse won his fourth career World Cup gold medal in the final, defeating Cassara, 15-11.

The U.S. team that finished second at the 2018 World Championships was reassembled in Bonn and rolled to a win in the Team event. Miles Chamley-Watson, Race Imboden, Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt had finished 8-10-11-14 in the individual event, and swept through its opponents by a combined 180-105 score and defeated Italy, 45-32, in the final.

• Women’s Epee in Tallinn:

The 49th Glaive de Tallinn saw Korea’s Hyo-Jung Jung, 34, win her first World Cup medal in six years with a 10-6 finals win over no. 9-ranked Man Wai Vivian Kong of Hong Kong. Jung had won a silver medal back in 2012, but scored what could be considered a significant upset from her position at no. 20 in the world rankings.

The U.S. scored a bronze medal in the Team event with Katharine Holmes, Kelley Hurley and Catherine Nixon, losing to France in the semis (29-25) but defeating the Koreans, 21-20 in the bronze medal match.

•Women’s Sabre in Orleans:

Hungarian veteran Anna Marton, the 2015 World Championships bronze medalist, was the winner in Orleans, defeating Spain’s surprise finalist Araceli Navarro in the final, 15-10. The U.S. team of Monica Aksamit, Anne-Elizabeth Stone, Dagmara Wozniak and Mariel Zagunis fenced very well in the Team event and finished fourth, losing to Italy, 45-43, in the bronze-medal match. Summaries:

FIE World Cup/Lowe von Bonn
Bonn (GER) ~ 9-11 November 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Foil: 1. Richard Kruse (GBR); 2. Andrea Cassara (ITA); 3. Nick Itkin (USA) and Enzo Lefort (FRA). Semis: Cassara d. Itkin, 15-10; Kruse d. Lefort, 15-10. Final: Kruse d. Cassara, 15-11.

Team Foil: 1. United States (Gerek Meinhardt, Alex Massialas, Race Imboden, Miles Chamley-Watson); 2. Italy; 3. Japan; 4. France. Semis: U.S. 45, Japan 30; Italy 45, France 40. Third: Japan 45, France 39. Final: U.S. 45, Italy 32.

FIE World Cup/Glaive de Tallinn
Tallinn (EST) ~ 9-11 November 2018
(Full results here)

Women’s Epee: 1. Hyo-Jung Jung (KOR); 2. Man Wai Vivian Kong (HKG); 3. Alberta Santuccio (ITA) and Yiwen Sun (CHN). Semis: Jung d. Santuccio, 9-8; Kong d. Sun, 4-3. Final: Jung d. Kong, 10-6.

Team Epee: 1. Russia; 2. France; 3. United States (Katharine Holmes, Kelley Hurley, Catherine Nixon); 4. Korea. Semis: France d. U.S., 29-25; Russia d. Korea, 41-30. Third: U.S. d. Korea, 21-20. Final: Russia d. France, 45-43.

FIE World Cup
Orleans (FRA) ~ 9-11 November 2018
(Full results here)

Women’s Sabre: 1. Anna Marton (HUN); 2. Araceli Navarro (ESP); 3. Alina Komashchuk (UKR) and Caroline Queroli (FRA). Semis: Marton d. Komashchuk, 15-10; Navarro d. Queroli, 15-11. Final: Marton d. Navarro, 15-10.

Team Sabre: 1. France; 2. Russia; 3. Italy; 4. United States (Monica Aksamit, Anne-Elizabeth Stone, Dagmara Wozniak, Mariel Zagunis). Semis: France d. U.S, 45-40; Russia d. Italy, 45-41. Third: Italy d. U.S., 45-43. Final: France d. Russia, 45-43.

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