One of the jokes of physics is that every time you are using your sword to cut, slice or poke your opponent, it cannot protect you - at least not much of you, because it is doing something else - attacking a target.
Wherever your blade is not, you are open, and when you are in the midst
of a cut, that means everywhere where the trajectory of the cut is not.
It turns out that one of the most dangerous time intervals in dueling is the time it takes to attack, and that means right from the moment your blade and/or arm become too busy attacking to defend. Your sword is doing one, single thing once committed, and thus has lost it's ability to adjust to changing circumstances.
Hopefully, during this interval, your opponent will be so worried about getting hit that they will not be attacking you, but if they are good, they will use body angle and footwork to evade, and not waste their weapon on such dreary things, instead, use it to take advantage of the opening you created, and try for a counter hit as soon as a target presents itself.
Even if they do use their weapon to block or parry your attack, their riposte may be faster than your ability to retract, and until you have returned to a defensive line, you are open.
(The other thing that happens sometimes is that the weapon gets trapped by your opponent, but that branch of inquiry leads in another direction so I will pass over it for now.)
This leaves 2 main options to increase your safety during an attack -
1) Be sure the opponent has no way of countering - say, their blade is still in mid strike and cannot be redirected.
2) Attack them as they are attacking you, using evasive techniques of body and feet
Basically use the fact that they are committed to your own ends.
It should be noted, however, that either way, you must still be able to return to a defensive line as soon as possible, because there is an 'after' to every attack .... there is always an 'after'.
If you miss .... then in all probability they are going to attack, either during or after your attempt, and if you hit them .... they are not 'dead yet' and can counter at least once, either with precision or with any number of flailing strikes as they 'fall'.
Getting the hell out of range would certainly seem like a good idea for these moments, but you need to cover this escape or risk getting hit, and remember .... the closer you got to them to get your hit in .... the further you have to move to escape their reach.