When two of the world’s best fencers face off in the finals of the highest stakes quadrennial tournament, you can only hope for a thriller, and good lord did this bout deliver! This bout featured Romania’s Ana-Maria Popescu against China’s Yiwen Sun, going into priority where Sun sneaked out an 11-10 victory.
- A common strategy against a French gripper is to rattle their blade in preparation with beats to tire them out and misalign the point, taking advantage of the leverage a pistol grip has over a pommeling French gripper. Popescu commonly employed this tactic, but Sun remained undeterred throughout the bout. Sun feels your beet, Sun doesn’t care.
- As evidenced by the final 11-10 score in priority, this bout as a game of cautious preparation, only choosing to go for a closing action with low risks in the most opportune moments. The bout averaged 27.72 seconds per touch, and both fencers were awarded a double P-Yellow and double P-Red throughout. In the first period, they averaged 35.4 seconds per touch. Things got a little more aggressive in period 2, and that average dipped to 22.5. Entering the third period at 8-8 both competitors returned to restrained caution, and the time per touch went up to 29.5 seconds.
- Want to know what an even match looks like? It’s when the score is tied for 8/18 touches, and then Sun and Popescu held the lead for an even 5 touches apiece throughout.
- Sun’s sense of timing is simply phenomenal. Watch throughout this bout as Popescu attempts a half advance into Sun’s preparation, and then the moment she picks up her front foot to recover back to en-garde, Sun is already launching a direct attack into her off balance opponent. And her disengages are [chef’s kiss] magnificent. Two points, she does a high feint, draws the parry, and keeps her tip so close to the guard for the final hit that Popescu can’t find her blade.
- Sun played the one tempo game heavily here. On her 8 single touches, she went 1-tempo on 5 actions, 2-tempo on 2 actions. Popescu on the other hand, on her 7 single lights went 1-tempo one time versus 2-tempo 5 times. Popescu favored an 8-opposition lunge in closing, following her disruptive circular beats in preparation.
- Sun’s favored action here was a lunge, which she hit 7 times. 5/7 lunges came with one tempo, the other 2 with two tempo. Popescu had a little bit of everything, with 2 lunges, 2 remises, 2 toe touches, and a fleche.
Touch by Touch Breakdown:
|Period||Score||Point For||Hit||Distance Initiated From||Tempos||Type of Action||Point Scored At:||Time Between Touches|
|1||1-0 Popescu||Popescu||Popescu pulls to 2 meter zone, and both are kind of at a stalemate for who will initiate attack. On Sun’s half advance, Popescu takes a deep 8 opposition lunge, misses, and hits remise.||B||3||Remise||1:26||94|
|1||2-0 Popescu||Popescu||Popescu pulls, and as Sun pressures, Popescu does a few light beat 8’s to rattle preparation. At close distance, Popescu goes for foot and hits remise for one light.||A||2||Remise||:58||28|
|1||2-1 Popescu||Sun||Sun pushes with a higher tempo frequency in her footwork. As she pushes, Popescu does a few disruptive beats with half advance into Sun’s distance to threaten. On Popescu’s retreat, Sun does a high feint, draws the parry, and snipes Popescu under her hand on second tempo.||B||2||Lunge||:46||12|
|1||2-2 Tie||Sun||Perfect timing from Sun. In the box, Popescu does a half advance to deceive distance, and as she picks up front foot to recover en garde, Sun explodes direct for one tempo lunge with disengage.||B||1||Lunge||:36||10|
|1||3-2 Sun||Sun||For the first time in the bout, Popescu pushes Sun, frequently beating Sun’s blade to create disruption and discomfort. On Popescu’s step forward, Sun hits a perfectly timed attack in preparation before Popescu’s arm even comes out.||B||1||Lunge||:03||33|
|2||3-3 Tie||Popescu||Sun begins pushing again, but Popescu threatens more with beats and sudden steps into Sun’s advances. Popescu pressures slowly, and as Sun steps back into the box, Popescu explodes into a sudden low-high fleche for one light.||B||2||Fleche||2:18||42|
|2||4-4 Tie||Double||Popescu pulls, and in Sun’s preparatory advance, she tries to search for 8 opposition lunge. Sun rolls off and counterattacks but Popescu sneaks in the double.||B||2||Lunge||1:59||19|
|2||5-4 Sun||Sun||In the box with limited preparation, once again, Sun goes for high feint, draws the parry, and finishes to the body for one light.||B||2||Lunge||1:52||7|
|2||5-5 Tie||Popescu||Popescu pulls, and alternates between disruptive circular four and six beats. She goes for beat six, and then does an oppositional lunge and closes Sun out in 4.||B||2||Lunge||1:32||20|
|2||6-5 Popescu||Popescu||Sun pushes and collapses to close distance, but is hesitant to commit to a closing action here. This was weird, as Popescu starts a thrust, and Sun attempts to take her blade and somehow draws Popescu into her own foot.||A||1||Toe Touch||:53||39|
|2||7-6 Popescu||Double||Good lord Popescu can cover length on her fleche. She pulls left of center, does a half advance with beat, and seems to hesitate for a quarter second before her YOLO instincts kick in, and she explodes into a fleche where Sun doubles her out.||A||1||Fleche||:45||8|
|3||7-7 Tie||Sun||Popescu pulls once again, and Sun is approaching at a much closer distance. Popescu does a preparatory beat in 4, then attempts to do a beat attack with lunge. She thinks she’s hit, it looks like, and Sun attempts to counterattack, misses, hits remise.||B||2||Remise||2:17||43|
|3||8-7 Sun||Sun||Popescu attempts a flick and falls short, then breaks distance. She steps back into fencing distance with Sun, tries a preparatory half advance, and as she’s getting back en garde, Sun launches a perfectly timed lunge.||B||1||Lunge||1:57||20|
|3||8-8 Tie||Popescu||Popescu presses Sun with a little more urgency, frequenting her beats and the tempo of footwork. Just before Sun hits her two meter zone, she does a powerful stationary beat, and then transitions into an advance lunge with high feint and then finishes with hit to the leg.||B||2||Lunge||1:26||31|
|3||9-9 Tie||Double||Double P-Red||N/A||N/A||P-Red||:26||60|
|3||10-9 Sun||Sun||Popescu tries to do a beat 8 and then finish with lunge, she falls short, and while standing up in recovery, Sun launches a lunge at her for one light.||B||1||Lunge||:12||14|
|3||10-10 Tie||Popescu||For someone with a lead with 12 seconds left, Sun goes very aggressive here, pushing Popescu in the box, then backing away to kill the clock. As she retreats towards 2 meter zone, Popescu binds in 6, holding the blade high. As Sun releases and retreats, Popescu does a simple disengage and hits to the foot.||A||2||Toe Touch||:03||9|
|Priority||11-10 Sun||Sun||Popescu gets priority. Sun pushes slowly, keeping a larger distance. She pauses on a dead tempo, and Popescu thinks the opportunity is there for her 8 opposition lunge. Sun responds by attacking to low line and closing her opponent out in 8 to win!||B||1||Lunge||:50||10|