Lily Zhang wins 4th table tennis national championship

Phillip Downey/File

Lily Zhang, a junior at Cal, has won the 2017 SuperMicro US National Table Tennis Championships, becoming the fourth woman to win the table tennis national women’s singles championship four times.

Zhang defeated Jennifer Wu, one of Zhang’s past Olympic teammates, in a tense 30-minute match that put the 2017 national championship and $8,000 in prize money on the line.  With three championship runs already under her belt, Zhang swiftly defeated Wu in four sets by scores of 11-5, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.

Prior to this year, Zhang was champion of US Table Tennis National Championship in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

In 2012, Zhang was the No. 3 seed for the championship and she worked her way to the top, winning all of her first three rounds in four games before defeating Ariel Hsing.

Zhang won the women’s singles title in 2014 when she beat Crystal Wang in five sets, winning with a score of 11-7, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8 and 11-9. Not only did Zhang bring in a women’s singles victory that year, but she also won the women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

In addition to the single’s championship title in 2016, Zhang was No. 1 in the U21 women’s singles, women’s singles and women’s doubles. Zhang faced Jiaqi Zheng, her doubles partner, in the women’s singles championship and narrowly defeated her in six sets.

In addition to the US Table Tennis National Championship, Zhang has competed in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. In the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Zhang went to the third round of the Olympic table tennis singles bracket, which was further than any other member on Team USA 2016 achieved in the singles bracket.

Zhang has a bright future ahead headlined not only by her young career in table tennis, but by her pursuit of a psychology major.

“This shows to juniors and kids that they don’t have to give up their passion,” Zhang said in a Las Vegas Review-Journal article. “They can do both.”

Contact Maya Ng-Yu at [email protected].