Alexander Massialas of the United States won the FIE Grand Prix for Foil in Shanghai ©Getty Images

Alexander Massialas of the United States and Anne Sauer of Germany won respective men’s and women’s won gold at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Grand Prix for foil in Shanghai  in the absence of Russian competitors.

The 29-year-old Massialas, winner of Olympic individual silver and team bronze at at Rio 2016 and another team bronze at Tokyo 2020, reclaimed the title he won in 2016 by beating Italy’s Francesco Ingargiola 15-7 in the final in what was the final Grand Prix of the season.

In the women's final, 2017 Shanghai Grand Prix winner Martina Batini of Italy saved one match point before losing to Sauer 15-14, for the latter to claim her first Grand Prix title at the age of 32.

Bronze medals in the men’s event went to Hungary’s Daniel Dosa and Julien Mertine of France.

In the women’s event the bronze medallists were Ysaora Thibus of France and Lee Kiefer of the United States, the Tokyo 2020 and 2018 world gold medallist.

Four Chinese fencers made it into the men's last 64, with only Chen Haiwei advancing further to face Massialas in the next round, reports.

Chen then suffered a narrow 15-14 defeat to the American – just as he had at the 2016 Shanghai Grand Prix.

On the women's side, Lin Qiwen beat Germany’s world number five Leonie Ebert 15-13 to reach the last eight, where she lost to Batini.

"This is my first time reaching the round of 64, and I am surprised," Lin said after the match, calling it an "exceptional performance" to reach the last eight.

The event took place during a turbulent period of uncertainty in the sport.

Russian athletes were absent from this competition and the FIE World Cup for men’s epee that has taken place in Istanbul.

Russian Fencing Federation President Ilgar Mammadov claimed to the country's official state news agency TASS: "There is no time to participate in tournaments." because it had not received entry lists for either event.

The FIE moved in March to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to its competitions, even before the IOC lifted a recommended outright ban.

However, this decision has proved divisive in the sport.

Several events in Europe have been cancelled following the decision to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals, and more than 300 fencers have urged the IOC and FIE to reconsider their positions.