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Alexander Massialas Holds Off Challenges To No. 1 Ranking With Paris World Cup Win

By Craig Bohnert | Jan. 21, 2017, 7:03 p.m. (ET)

Alexander Massialas celebrates his semifinal win over Giorgio Avola of Italy at the foil fencing world cup on Jan. 21, 2017 in Paris.

Alexander Massialas demonstrated the form that has earned him the world No. 1 ranking Saturday, defeating two of the world’s top four foil fencers to claim his first Paris world cup gold.

It is the third straight year an American won the event, after Race Imboden took gold the past two years.

After opening with a 15-8 win over Germany’s Felix Klein, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist next took down 20th-ranked Dmitry Rigin of Russia by a 15-6 score. Next up was a first-time meeting with Italy’s Guillaume Bianchi. Though the Italian entered the tournament ranked No. 219, he proved to be more than the ranking indicated, extending Massialas before finally succumbing, 15-14.

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Facing France’s Francesco Trani for the first time, Massialas advanced to the semifinals with a 15-12 win, setting up an encounter with Trani’s teammate, Giorgio Avola. Although the Frenchman held a 3-1 advantage in the series between the two, it was Massialas who took a second straight win over the No. 4 ranked Avola, 15-11. That led to a gold medal encounter with 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Timur Safin of Russia, who pushed Massialas to the limit before losing to the American for the third straight time, 15-14.

No. 12 Gerek Meinhardt fell to Safin in the quarterfinal and finished sixth, while No. 5 Imboden, who was eliminated by Meinhardt in the round of 16, placed ninth. Miles Chamley-Watson, ranked ninth in the world, fell to Trani in the round of 32 and ended in 18th.

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Alexander Massialas