US Women’s Olympic Table Tennis Team’s Journey Ends in Match Against Chinese Taipei
by Mark Thompson
US Women’s Olympic Table Tennis Team’s
Journey Ends in Match Against Chinese Taipei
Americans Come Out Strong in the Doubles Play in the Team Competition Format – But Are Unable to Overcome a Strong Squad from Chinese Taipei
(Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021) – The American women’s Olympic Table Tennis Team was knocked out of the Team Event in a 3-0 loss to Chinese Taipei tonight at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. The US doubles team of Liu Juan and Lily Zhang got to match point in their bid to take the opening match from Chinese Taipei in the Team Competition Format, but were unable to close the deal, giving the highly regarded Chinese Taipei squad the boost they needed to sweep the Americans out of the event.
After dropping the first game of the best-of-five-game doubles match (6-11), American’s Liu and Zhang stormed through Games Two and Three by identical 11-6 scores to take a two-games-to-one lead. The US tandem continued their strong play into Game Four building a 9-6 lead in the effort to close out the Chinese Taipei duo of Cheng Hsien Tzu and Chen Szu Yu. However, Cheng and Chen re-grouped and battled back to get Game Four to 9-9. The US won the nineteenth point to get to match point at 10-9 but were unable to seal the deal on the twentieth, giving Chinese Taipei enough to hope to win three points in a row and take Game Four, 12-10. Cheng and Chen were solid in Game Five, beating the Americans 11-8 to take the 1-0 lead in the overall Team Competition Format.
The Team Format then turned to singles, where American Huijing Wang got her first and what would prove to be only opportunity to make an Olympic appearance in 2020. Wang had the unenviable task of facing the eighth ranked player in the world, Cheng I Ching, who lived up to her advanced billing, displaying a deft combination of quickness, power and accuracy that led to her winning three straight games in relative short order, 11-5, 11-1, 11-4.
In what proved to be the final game of the Olympics for the American women, Liu Juan continued what has been nothing short of spectacular play in her first career Olympics, showing that she – without question – belonged (and belongs) on this stage. Liu held multiple leads in Game One of her singles match against Chen Szu Tu, and went on to claim that first game, 13-11. Chen bounced back in the second game to beat Liu, 11-4, but in the third, Liu once again showed her moxie taking Chen into a marathon back-and-forth affair that required thirty points before Chen took the 2-1 lead with a 16-14 win. In Game Four, Chen once again found her stride defeating Liu, 11-4, to win the match three-games-to-one and, in the same breath, knock the American women out of the Team event.
USATT takes this opportunity to commend our US Women’s Olympic Team for their commitment and effort to represent our country and our organization on the highest level. USATT also wants to thank all of the table tennis fans who provided their support to our Women’s Olympic Team in this journey. Thank you.
The US Men get their chance in the Teams Competition tomorrow morning (10:00 am Japan Time; 9:00 pm US Eastern Time, Sunday, August 1) when the team of Kanak Jha, Nikhil Kumar and Zhou Xin face an extremely tough squad from Sweden.
Chief Operating Officer
USA Table Tennis