Day 3: Last American Zhang goes down

American Zhang eliminated

Olympics: Table Tennis

11:30 AM

American Lily Zhang’s Olympic run ended Monday morning as she fell in five games to Seo Hyo-Won of South Korea as the women’s third round finished at the Riocentro.

After dropping the first two games of the match, Zhang rallied back in game 3. Down 5-3, she won the next six points to eventually take the game 11-7. But despite her best efforts, Zhang would be eliminated shortly thereafter, as Seo found her form to take the match 4 games to 1.

Despite the loss, Zhang can look back on her singles tournament in Rio fondly. After being bounced in the first round of the London Games, Zhang won her first two matches in Rio without dropping a game.

She’ll be back in action with Team USA starting Friday when team play begins.

Just one day after her compatriot Kim Song-I knocked off Kasumi Ishikawa, North Korea’s Ri Myong-Sun also advanced to the fourth round, defeating Germany’s Patrissa Solja in straight-sets. Two players in the round of sixteen marks the first time that any North Korean has advanced that far since 2004, when Kim Hyang-Mi won the silver medal.

Cheng I-Ching of Chinese Taipei won in seven games in the longest match of the morning. After dropping game 1, Cheng won the next three games handily, and looked set to make quick work of Belarus’s Viktoria Pavlovich. But Pavlovich battled back, winning games 5 and 6 in close ones to force a decisive seventh game. But Cheng wouldn’t be denied, winning the first 8 points and closing out the match.

Elsewhere, Austria’s Liu Jia won in five games over the Netherlands’ Li Jiao in five games, and Singapore’s Feng Tianwei beat Luxembourg’s Ni Xialian in six. Ni, the oldest player in the women’s bracket, was up 2-0 early, but lacked the stamina to compete with her opponent 24 years her junior. Feng stormed back to win the next four games and take the match.

The early action of the day also featured a trio of walkovers, as seeded players Li Xiaoxia (CHN), Ai Fukuhara (JPN), and Lee Ho Ching (HKG) all won their opening matches of the tournament in blowouts.

The men are also in action as they finish up round three this morning, with all matches streaming live on NBCOlympics.com.

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