Inna Deriglazova has extended her incredible winning streak at the Absolute Fencing Gear Foil Grand Prix in Anaheim, by again beating Alice Volpi of Italy in another classic match of the last two world champions. In the men’s competition, Julien Mertine of France defeated Italian 18-year-old Tommaso Marini in an upset final pairing.

Alice Volpi must be wondering how she can beat Inna Deriglazova. For the third time in a row in international competition, she has come up against the Russian in a final and lost.

Despite trailing 14-12 in the last period, Deriglazova kept her cool in the closing moments of an absorbing and high-class bout to take victory, much to the dismay of her Italian rival. The win is her fourth in six attempts this season, which began with bronze in Algeria in November, and means she defends the title she won in Anaheim last year.

Having mostly cruised through her qualifying bouts, Deriglazova was imperious in her quarter and semifinals, beating Cipressa of Italy 15-4 and then her teammate Korobeynikova 15-7 to advance. In the final against Volpi she trailed for the entire bout, until the very last touch gave her the win, 15-14.

Volpi was also a class above her opponents, winning 15-4 against teammate Batini in their quarterfinal, before ousting Korea’s Hee Sook Jeon 15-9 to reach her fourth gold medal match this year. Unfortunately for her, she couldn’t hold onto the lead when it mattered and now has a 2-10 record against the Russian world number one.

In the men’s draw, several of the world’s top ten were taken by surprise by Mertine’s of France, who won only his second career event — he last tasted victory in Cuba in 2012 — and Italy’s 18-year-old junior European champion, Tommaso Marini.

Marini pulled some upsets to make the decider, beating teammate and world number one Alessio Foconi in their semifinal, 15-9, world number ten, Alexander Massialas of the USA by the same score line in the table of 8, and Italian Olympic gold medallist Daniele Garozzo, by a single point in the table of 32.

Mertine’s also upset some bigger names, including Italian world champion Andrea Cassara, 15-11 in their quarter final, before advancing to the gold medal match by beating Hong Kong’s Ka Long Cheung, 15-13. The bronze is the second time this season Cheung had stood on the podium, having taken silver at the last Grand Prix event in Turin.

Both finalists had been well outside the top 50 before they met in the decider at the Anaheim Convention Center, but it was Mertine’s greater experience that enabled him to stay on top of the young Italian, successfully combating his superior range, which Marini had used to great effect throughout the competition, meaning the Frenchman was eventually able to take victory, 15-11.

Full Results:

Men’s Individual

1. Julien Mertine (FRA, gold)
2. Tommaso Marini (ITA, silver)
3. Ka Long Cheung (HKG, bronze)
3. Alessio Foconi (ITA, bronze)
5. Andrea Cassara (ITA)
6. Alexander Massialas (USA)
7. Alexander Choupenitch (CZE)
8. Valerio Aspromonte (ITA).

Women’s Individual

1. Inna Deriglazova (RUS, gold)
2. Alice Volpi (ITA, silver)
3. Hee Sook Jeon (KOR, bronze)
3. Larisa Korobeynikova (RUS, bronze)
5. Leonie Ebert (GER)
6. Arianna Errigo (ITA)
7. Martina Batini (ITA)
8. Erica Cipressa (ITA)