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Alexander Massialas Earns Second Career Grand Prix Title in Torino

12/05/2017, 10:00pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Torino Grand Prix Champion Alexander Massialas. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FIE

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – After winning silver medals at two of the three Grand Prix events last season, Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) reached the top of the podium for the second time in his career on Sunday when he took gold at the Torino Grand Prix in Italy.

Just a week after he was honored by the FIE as the Overall World Cup Champion for ending the 2016-17 season at No. 1 in the world, Massialas entered the Torino event as the top seed and took six straight wins on his way to gold.

Exempt from the pool rounds on Friday due to his top-16 world ranking, Massialas opened with a victory over Tommaso Marini (ITA) in the 64, building an 8-4 lead at the break and going on to win the bout, 15-7.

In the table of 32, Massialas drew former Olympic and World Champion Alexey Cheremisinov (RUS). Fencing the Russian for the first time since 2014, Massialas came back from a 4-1 deficit in the first bout to tie the score at seven at the break. With the score tied again at 12, Massialas closed the bout with a 3-1 run and a 15-13 win.

Massialas’ next opponent, Erwann Auclin (FRA) qualified for the table of 16 after going on a six-touch run to upset Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) – a 2013 Senior World Champion and member of the team that won bronze in Rio – by a 15-10 score in the table of 32.

Massialas would turn the tables on the six-time Grand Prix Champion, however, putting up two runs at 7-0 and 5-0 en route to a 15-5 first period win.

In the quarter-finals, Massialas opened the first period against 2016 Olympic team silver medalist Erwann Le Pechoux (FRA) at 8-3 and blasted through the second at 7-1 to win the bout, 15-4.

Massialas used the momentum to his benefit again, pulling away from a tie at four to score eight straight and close the bout at 15-7 in the first period.

The semifinals pitted Massialas against Rio Olympic bronze medalist Timur Safin (RUS) for the third time this year with Massialas winning their Paris World Cup final in January and Safin taking their Absolute Fencing Gear® FIE Grand Prix Long Beach final in March.

Safin controlled most of the bout, building a 12-9 lead in the second before Massialas adjusted and outscored the 2016 Olympic Team Champion, 6-1, to take gold with a 15-13 victory.

The win marks Massialas’ seventh career Grand Prix podium finish and eighth title on the World Cup circuit.

Two-time Olympian Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished ninth in Torino to retain his No. 6 world ranking.

Imboden fenced Alexander Kahl (GER) in the 64, breaking away from a tie at five to score seven straight and take the bout, 15-7.

In the 32, Imboden took on Peter Joppich (GER), bringing his all-time record against the five-time Senior World Champion to 7-2 when he broke away from a tie at 11 to earn a 15-13 win.

LeFort pulled away from a 7-7 score against Imboden in the 16 with three straight touches to take a 10-7 lead. Imboden scored twice to cut LeFort’s lead to 10-9, but couldn’t pass the 2016 Olympic team silver medalist who won the bout, 15-12, and would go on to win bronze.

Adam Mathieu (Brooklyn, N.Y.) joined Chamley-Watson as being one of two Americans to earn top-32 finishes.

Mathieu advanced through the pools and preliminary rounds on Friday to the table of 64 on Sunday where he defeated Max Van Haaster (CAN), 15-11.

Fencing in the table of 32 for the second time in the last three events, Mathieu put up a tough fight against Daniele Garozzo (ITA), but lost the bout, 15-10.

Like his Rio teammates, Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) was exempt from the pool and preliminary rounds, but he came up short in the 64 with a 15-12 loss to Sholto Douglass (AUS).

In the women’s event on Saturday, two-time Olympian Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) led the Americans with a ninth place finish.

As the No. 2 seed, Kiefer earned a bye into the 64 where she swiftly defeated Maria Marino (ITA), 15-5.

In the table of 32, Kiefer took on Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) – her former teammate at both Notre Dame and on the Senior World Team for the last four years.

The bout would be a rematch of their gold medal final at the Pan Ams in June. Massialas built an early lead at 8-2 and outscored Massialas, 7-5, in the second for a 15-7 win.

Kiefer fenced a rare three-period bout against Valentina De Costanzo (ITA) in the 16. While Kiefer held a 7-6 lead after the first, De Costanzo outscored Kiefer, 6-3, in the second to regain the lead at 12-10. Kiefer opened the third with three straight before De Costanzo closed out at 3-1 to end the bout, 15-13, before going on to win her first career senior international bronze medal.

Kiefer’s teammate on the Senior World squad that won silver this summer, Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.), earned a bye into the table of 64 where she won her bout against Seo In Hong (KOR), 15-10.

Ross’ next opponent, Coralie Brot (FRA), took a 7-2 lead over the 2012 Olympian early in their table of 32 bout. Ross brought the bout back to within a touch at 7-6, but Brot ended the first period at 13-8 before ending the bout at 15-10.

Three U.S. fencers advanced through the preliminary table of 64, but lost their opening bouts in the direct elimination tables on Saturday.

Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.), a 2017 Senior World team silver medalist, lost to Kata Kondricz (HUN), 15-10.

Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.), who won Junior World gold with Lu and Kiefer in 2014, fell to Dora Lupkovics (HUN), 15-10.

Fencing in the 64 for her first time at a Grand Prix, 2017 Cadet World medalist Natalie Minarik (Colts Neck, N.J.) lost her bout to London Olympian Martyna Synoradzka (POL), 13-5.

Click here to view complete men’s results.

Click here to view complete women’s results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Torino Men’s Foil Grand Prix
1. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)

2. Timur Safin (RUS)
3. Alessio Foconi (ITA)
3. Enzo LeFort (FRA)
5. Daniele Garozzo (ITA)
6. Richard Kruse (GBR)
7. Erwann Le Pechoux (FRA)
8. Valerio Aspromonte (ITA)

9. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
18. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.)
26. Adam Mathieu (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
37. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
78. Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.)
111. Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.)
124. Spencer Gordon-Sand (New York City, N.Y.)
145. Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.)
160. Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)

Torino Women’s Foil Grand Prix
1. Inna Deriglazova (RUS)
2. Alice Volpi (ITA)
3. Valentina De Costanzo (ITA)
3. Arianna Errigo (ITA)
5. Ysaora Thibus (FRA)
6. Svetlana Tripapina (RUS)
7. Hyunhee Nam (KOR)
8. Martina Favaretto (ITA)

9. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
17. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
23. Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
41. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
48. Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.)
52. Natalie Minarik (Colts Neck, N.J.)
73. Sylvie Binder (Armonk, N.Y.)
89. Morgan Lee (Woodmere, N.Y.)
97. Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
116. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
122. Jessie Laffey (Glen Ridge, N.J.)
156. Elyssa Kleiner (San Francisco, Calif.)

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