Baku, June 23, AZERTAC
Germany's Olympic Fencing champion Britta Heidemann came to the European Games to take in what she called "some Olympic air" but her campaign lasted just a few breaths.
The 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist, crashed out of the women's individual epee event in the first knockout round, losing to Russia's Tatyana Andryushina 15-14.
The 32-year-old German, who has been unable to train properly for the last few weeks because of an Achilles tendon injury, had hoped that the trip to Baku would give her a psychological lift in the run-up to next year's Olympic Games in Rio.
"I am very disappointed with myself. I came here to feel some Olympic air and to get some competition practice," Heidemann said. "I would have liked that to continue for at least two more rounds, but I didn't show enough for that."
The first morning of fencing action saw several top names go out early.
Ukraine's Olympic champion and top seed Yana Shemyakina made her exit in the second knockout round, defeated by world no.3 Erika Kirpu.
Romania's Simona Pop, a bronze medallist at the recent European championships, did not even get through the round-robin qualifying stage.
Estonian Kirpu will fence at 17:45 against Romanian world no.2 Ana Maria Branz, whose compatriot Simona Gherman will contest the other semi-final at 18:00 against Russian Yana Zvereva.
The losers of the semi final automatically get the bronze medals. The gold medal bout will take place at 19:05.