Around the Piste: Men's individual foil competition
By: Eric Weeks
Bronze medal match
Timur Safin defeats Richard Kruse. Down 10-14, Kruse mounted a comeback that ultimately came up short.
Italy's Daniele Garozzo and Russia's Timur Safin faced off the the first semifinal bout. The #11 and #12 ranked fencers battled to a tie midway through the first period. Garozzo quickly capitalized, scoring six consecutive touches before ultimately winning 15-8.
Massialas faced off against Richard Kruse in the second match. The men fought to a 4-4 tie before Massialas scored four unanswered touches to lead at the end of the first. Kruse would only score four more points. Massialas advances to the gold medal match against Daniele Garozzo.
Meinhardt drew Great Britain's Richard Kruse in their quarterfinal match. Meinhardt got off to a slow start with Kruse netting five points to take an early 5-1 lead. Meinhardt battled back but ultimately lost 13-15 to the veteran in the second period.
Toldo who had unexpectedly breezed through the first three rounds of the competition faced a tough matchup with Daniele Garozzo of Italy. Toldo was down 5-10 with just under a minute and a half in the first and was only able to muster three more touches as his day came to a close.
Giorgio Avola had the task of taking on Alexander Massialas. Both men dueled to a 5-5 tie by the end of the first period. The American found himself in a bit of trouble in the second as he went down 7-13 with 1:20 to go. Trailing 10-14, Massialas scored four consecutive points in the waning seconds of the second period to tie the bout. Massialas showed why he is the #1 fencer in the world scoring the final point to advance to the semifinals.
Round of 16
Meinhardt returned to the piste to face France's Erwan Le Pechoux. He got off to a slow start and trailed Le Pechoux 6-8 to start the second period but scored three quick points to take a point advantage. Le Pechoux would not go down quietly as he tied the match several times in the second period. Knotted at 14, Meinhardt scored the final point to earn a trip to the quarterfinals.
Toldo's outstanding Olympic debut continued against Ka Long Cheung. Down four points towards the end of the first period, he battled back to tie the contest at 8 apiece. In the second he began to wear down Cheung and won in convincing fashion with the home crowd loudly cheering him on.
Artur Akhmatkhuzin faced Massialas who built 7-3 lead in the first period before Akhmatkhuzin came back to tie the match at 7 to end the period. Massialas scored four consecutive points to start the second period, pulling ahead. Midway through the second, Akhmatkhuzin fell to the piste and trainers spent several minutes evaluating and taping his ankle. Once the bout resumed, Massialas only allowed the Russian one more touch as the #1 fencer earned 8 of the last 10 points on his way to another victory.
James Andrew Davis who was believed to be one of Great Britain's best chances at winning a medal lost 13-15 to Russia's Timur Safin while Peter Joppich dropped his match to Giorgio Avola of Italy.
Round of 32
Toldo continued his impressive start against Japan's Yuki Ota, jumping out to an early 2-0 lead and outscoring the #2 ranked fencer 12-10 in the first period. It took Toldo three more points to stun Ota and claim victory with just under two and a half minutes left in the second period.
Gerek Meinhardt was the first U.S. fencer to take the piste in the Round of 32 facing off against Canada's Max van Haaster. Meinhardt set the tone early scoring a point two seconds into the match. He made quick work of van Haaster winning 15-4 with just over a minute remaining in the first period.
Miles Chamley-Watson hit the green piste against Russia's Artur Akhmatkhuzin. Chamley-Watson scored a quick point to open the bout but quickly lost the lead on several simultaneous touches that were in favor of Akhmatkhuzin. There was arguing from both sides with the referees throughout much of the second period. With Chamley-Watson trailing 14-13, the referee called a simultaneous touch in favor of the attacking Akhmatkhuzin who moves on the Round of 16.
Alexander Massialas followed Chamley-Watson on the yellow piste to take on Mohamed Essam of Egypt. Massialas scored three points in under 30 seconds to start the period. Just before the two minute mark in the first, Essam scored a point but gingerly walked around afterwards before laying down on the piste favoring his right knee. Trainers worked on him for several minutes before the match resumed. Massialas scored 11 of the last 16 points to win.
Veteran and two-time team foil gold medalist Andrea Cassara won his match against Jeremy Cadot of France. Five time world champion Peter Joppich defeated France's Enzo Lefort.
Round of 64
Brazil's Guilherme Toldo had an impressive showing against Rene Pranz of Austria in the opening round. The 66th ranked fencer jumped to an early lead before allowing Pranz, who is ranked ten slots ahead of the 23-year-old Toldo, to tie with 2:16 left in the third period.
Pranz took advantage to go up two points but his lead wouldn't last long. With Toldo trailing by a point, the fencers scored a simultaneous touch. The referee determined Toldo had right of way. In the foil competition, right of way gives priority to the attacking fencer. Tied at 14, Toldo mounted one final attack that netted the winning point.