Melissa Tapper of Australia plays a women's singles preliminary match against Caroline Kumahara of Brazil.
Melissa Tapper of Australia plays a women's singles preliminary match against Caroline Kumahara of Brazil. Photo by Mike Ehrmann - Getty Images

Tapper loses in history-making clash

TABLE TENNIS: Victorian Melissa Tapper has lost to Caroline Kumahara of Brazil in the preliminary round of women's singles table tennis at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on the first day of competition.

Tapper, making history today as the first Australian to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, forced the Brazilian into a sixth set but the home-town favourite clinched the win 4-2.

"Towards the end I started to find a little bit of my own momentum but I was too slow to start," she said.

"It's a good show for me that I can compete at that higher level."

After going down in the first set 4-11, Tapper fought back to claim the second 11-8.

Kumahara went back in front, taking the third set 11-5.

Tapper once more showed great fighting qualities to win the next set 11-9 but despite staving off a match point, she eventually lost the match, going down 11-8 in set six.

"It wasn't my best performance but I played the best that I could in that moment," she said.

"Given the circumstances and everything that is happening around I'm quite happy with the 4-2 loss.

"I think I put up a good fight. It was quite exciting actually trying to almost win over a crowd in a sense myself. When you play some good table tennis they cheer for anything that's great."

Tapper will compete in the women's team event on Friday when Australia face Democratic People's Republic of Korea.



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