RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — In a day of fencing upsets, Hungary's Emese Szasz rallied to win the gold medal in women's epee Saturday at the Carioca Arena 3.
Szasz, ranked seventh in the world, stunned two-time world champion Rossella Fiamingo of Italy 15-13 after trailing by as many as four points — a remarkable rally for the sport.
"I believed in myself and my fencing, and I did it," Szasz said.
China's Yiwen Sun won bronze, beating Lauren Rembi of France 15-13 on a stab with 37 seconds to go.
Szasz's win capped an opening day marked by big surprises. Top-ranked Anqi Xu of China, third-ranked Tatiana Logunova of Russia and all three U.S. fencers were eliminated in the round of 32.
Second-ranked Sarra Besbes of Tunisia was knocked out in the quarterfinals.
Unlike her highly-ranked peers, the fourth-ranked Fiamingo cruised to the semifinals. Fiamingo then fell behind by three points to Sun before a rally with 10 seconds left and a point in extra time put her through to the finals.
Szasz beat Rembi 10-6 in the semifinals, setting up a matchup of two of the world's top fencing powers in the finals.
Fiamingo forced the action, pushing her lead to 10-6 early in the second period. But Szasz scored nine of the last 12 points, clinching the win on a simultaneous score.
"Only then, when I made the last touch," Szasz said when asked when she thought she had taken control of the match.
France's Marie-Florence Candassamy entered the tournament ranked just 49th in the world, but her aggressive fighting style had Xu on her heels.
Candassamy took a 10-6 lead after the second period and clinched the blowout victory midway through the third period.
Candassamy then got a shot at Nathalie Moellhausen, an Italian fighting for Brazil to honor her Brazilian grandmother. But Moellhausen, backed by the home crowd, drubbed Candassamy 15-12 before losing in the quarterfinals.
"I've done something really good for Brazil. It's a new experience for me. I'm going to keep fencing," Moellhausen said.
Americans Katharine Holmes and sisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley, all ranked outside the top 10, lost their first matches. Courtney Hurley chose to rest up for competition rather than march in Friday's Opening Ceremony, a decision she came to regret.
"It doesn't matter. I should have just marched and had fun," Hurley said. "Everyone's hyping it up all year long and you're done in nine minutes."
South Korea's Shin A Lam, whose protest following a defeat in the semifinals at the London Games four years ago overshadowed the rest of the epee tournament, was upset by Ukraine's Olena Kryvytska 15-14 in the round of 32.