Kirsty Gilmour’s bid to qualify for the last 16 of the women’s singles in the Olympic badminton tournament ended in disappointment last night when she lost a three-game battle with Linda Zetchiri.
The 22-year-old from Bothwell, who had won her previous two meetings with the Bulgarian, took the first game comfortably before her opponent hit back to take the next two to clinch victory 12-21 21-17 21-16 in 68 minutes.
Gilmour had won her opening match on Thursday against Sabrina Jaquet but Zetchiri also defeated the Swiss player on Saturday by the same 21-17 21-15 score to set up the group decider.
The two full days between her matches did not help Gilmour’s momentum in Rio.
The Commonwealth Games and European silver medallist said: “I do tend to come out very fast and not a lot of people can keep up but she caught up to the rhythm and she knew what was coming rather than it being unexpected.
“She caught up to the pace and to her credit that’s the best I’ve seen her play for a long time. She must have been working hard over the summer.
“On this occasion I think the days between my matches probably hindered me. It was almost three days because I played late at night on Thursday.
“There’s been a lot of waiting around while other people have been competing and then by the time I’ve started, some people have finished.
“It’s hard to stay in your own rhythm and it takes a lot of decision to block everything out. I really tried to do that but three days was a lot.
“But I don’t think that’s what made the difference today to be honest. I think I went a bit tight in the second. I couldn’t seem to find the baseline.
“At the start of the second set I couldn’t get a good length and then at the end of the second set I couldn’t keep it in.
“So I just didn’t manage to find the right weight of shot but that’s just something I need to work on and learn from. I hope I’m only at the start of my career and I’ve got many more tough lessons to learn on the way.”
Gilmour’s exit leaves men’s singles star Rajiv Ouseph and doubles pair Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis as the remaining Team GB hopes.