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SIXTH FOR DAVIS IN PARIS

21st January 2014

Lefort thrills home crowd as Davis improves his world ranking

James Davis started the 2014 international season in much the same form as he ended the 2013 season by taking sixth place in the Paris season opener.  A massive field of 205 took part in the event.

Ranked seventh in the world going into the tournament, Davis avoided the early stages with a bye to the round of 64.  There, he met Lorenzo Nista (ITA) and despite some early close exchanges he ran out a comfortable 15-10 winner.  His next opponent was Maor Hatoel (ISR) and the first period was extremely tight with Davis taking a 4-3 lead into the break.  By the second break he led 12-8 and saw the match out 15-8.  The French crowd were right behind his next opponent, Erwan Le Pechoux (FRA) and the Frenchman led 6-5 at the first break.  The second period followed a similar pattern to the first with Le Pechoux opening the gap before Davis closed it to just 10-8 down at the second break.  A huge roar erupted in the stadium but it was for another French fencer.  Enzo Lefort had just beaten Artur Akhmatkhuzin (RUS) on a neighbouring piste to make the quarterfinals.  Meanwhile, Davis started the third period well, leveling the score at 10-10, before Le Pechoux struck again.  At 11-10 down Davis performed two stunning stop-hits to take the lead for the first time in the match.  Another hit from Davis took the score to 13-11 in his favour but then he was given his second warning of the match (covering) and Le Pechoux only trailed by one hit with six seconds on the clock.  The Frenchman leveled things up at 13-13 and with just two seconds on the clock both fencers settled for the priority minute.  Le Pechoux was awarded the priority but Davis went on the attack straight away to take the fight 14-13. 

His quarterfinal match was against Meinhardt (USA) who Davis has been training with for the past few months.  The first two hits were shared between the fencers but then the American went on a stunning run to lead 11-5 with less than a minute gone.  A mini-revival from the Brit took the score to 13-9 in favour of Meinhardt but Davis then called for an injury timeout.  On his return to the piste Meinhardt continued the fight at whirlwind speed and won 15-10.  This result means that Davis has now moved up to sixth in the world rankings.

The gold medal went somewhat unexpectedly to Enzo Lefort (FRA) after a stunning 15-9 win against Andrea Cassara (ITA).  Two seasons ago Lefort made back-to-back quarterfinals but since then he hasn’t been further than the round of 16.  At just 21 years old, the Frenchman is surely someone to watch for the future.  Peter Joppich (GER) joined Gerek Meinhardt (USA) on the podium in the bronze medal position.  Meinhardt’s bronze medal performance moves him to the top of the world rankings.

In the team event Great Britain (Archer, Davis, Fitzgerald & Kruse) defeated Kuwait 45-12 with Davis in reserve but then fell 45-28 to Japan with Fitzgerald in reserve.  Victories over Canada (45-32 - Archer in reserve) and Brazil (45-30 – Fitzgerald in reserve) followed by defeat to Germany (45-30 – no reserve) saw them take tenth place.  The gold medal went to Italy but not before France gave them a fright.  With the score remaining close until the seventh match Italy dug deep to clinch it 45-35.  The USA team took the bronze medal beating Russia 45-30.

GB Individual Placings:  Davis 6th, Kruse 22nd, Tofalides 40th, Fitzgerald 78th, Mepstead 92nd, Melia 93rd, Archer 95th, Cook 101st, Rosowsky 140th, Peggs 146th, Hendrie 166th & Bryant 202nd.

Full individual results here.

Full team results here.

Meanwhile both the mens and womens elite epeeists were competing in Doha, Qatar.  The men’s Grand Prix started with a field of 153 including Gareth Thomas who finished 100th.  The event was won Sangyoung Park (KOR) who beat Enrico Garozzo (ITA) 15-14 in the final.  The bronze medals went to Anton Avdeev (RUS) and Bogdan Nikishin (UKR).

Full results here.

The women’s World Cup also took place at the Aspire Centre with a field of 145 competing including Corinna Lawrence who finished 123rd.  Tiffany Geroudet (SUI) beat Julia Beljajeva (EST) 15-10 to take the gold medal with Julia Revesz (HUN) and Monika Sozanska (GER) sharing the bronze medal position.  In the team event Romania beat China 19-18 to take the gold medals with Hungary beating the USA 45-33 for bronze.

Full individual results here.

Full team results here.

The season continues this weekend with a men’s epee World Cup in Legnano, Italy.  Britain will be represented by Gregory Allen, Gareth Thomas, Matthew Henderson and Philip Marsh.

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