Mansfield’s Team GB table tennis player Kelly Sibley suffered a 4-2 first round defeat by Lithuanian opponent Ruta Paskauskiene in the women’s singles competition at the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, today.
Sibley (27) started the first-round match strongly and took a 2-0 lead, but Paskauskiene was an unstoppable force in the final four games and dominated the Brit’s serve.
From game three onwards, Paskauskiene dominated the match, with Sibley unable to score more than six points in a game.
Paskauskiene won the European Championships singles title in 2008, and the doubles title in 2010 and 2011.
Sibley said: “I felt like I came out the blocks quite quickly and caught her off guard. I knew I had to do that, because I have played her a few times before.
“I have beaten her a couple of times and those times when I did I have come out quickly and caught her cold. I did the same again today, I was 2-0 up but then she upped her game and I struggled to keep with the pace. I knew what I had to do, I had to vary the spin a little bit, but once she found her rhythm she was very difficult to break down.
“It is difficult when it is not going your way, but I’m experienced enough now to know what I need to do. I did try to do that, but she had all the answers. She was seeing the ball like a football. So I’m very disappointed, especially because of the great start, but all credit to her because she fought back and I had no answers towards the end.
“We had a week here before, a week’s training camp, and I thought it went well which showed in those first two sets. I definitely caught her cold, but she found her groove and it was just too difficult for me.”