First off, apparently I’m not that bad at this sabre prediction thing!
The 2014-2015 FIE season got started in spectacular fashion last night in Budapest. There were some major upsets in the 64 and 32, with Kovalev, Kim, Won, Samele, Homer and Dolniceanu losing early, and Berrè and Wagner injured. There was a whole herd of dark horses in the 8:
From the 8, nature took its course pretty quickly, with Szatmari, Yagodka, Hwang and Huebers being fairly comprehensively overpowered by the top 4. The full stream is available here:
Szilagyi and Montano’s bout was tense and dramatic, with some excellent fencing on both sides. Yakimenko v Gu, on the other hand, was a massacre. By the time they were about 5 points in, I’d already called the comp for Gu. The only thing that could have stopped him would have would have been Szilagyi at the absolute peak of his game. There were two possibilities for the final:
- Under enormous pressure to win on his home turf in the 100th anniversary year of his national federation, Szilagyi would rise to the occasion with incredible heroics and the greatest fencing of his life.
- Under enormous pressure to win on his home turf in the 100th anniversary year of his national federation, Szilagyi would lock up, and Gu would toy with him in the same way he’d earlier toyed with Limbach and Yakimenko.
Take a careful look at the following clip and try to figure out which scenario happened:
The first half of the match was cold-blooded murder. It wasn’t until around 10/4 until Szilagyi finally stopped thinking about the big trophy and started taking things point by point. By 14, Gu was just slightly tense, and Szilagyi started to fight back.
This one in particular was a classy hit:
Gu’s lead was so commanding, however, that it was a futile effort, and Gu brought things home with a ludicrously fortuitous counterattack. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is your epic hit of the day:
Gu will, fairly obviously, maintain his #1 world ranking with an expanded lead. Szilagyi will move into second place, ahead of Kim. The next comp is in just three weeks, in New York.
Nice work, gentlemen.