MARKHAM, Ontario (AP) — Lily Zhang earned her second straight Olympic table tennis spot Friday, beating countrywoman Jiaqi Zheng 11-3, 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 in the North American Olympic trials.
“When the last point was over, it was a sense of disbelief and happiness all at the same time,” Zhang said. “It feels so amazing to go back to the Olympics to represent my country a second time. I am so humbled and happy.”
The top-ranked player in the field, the 19-year-old Zhang, from Palo Alto, Calif., will join Yue “Jennifer” Wu of Fort Lee, N.J., as the two U.S. singles players in Brazil. Wu had qualified by winning the Pan American Games last summer.
“The last time around, I had just turned 16, and I was kind of overwhelmed by the whole thing,” Zhang said. “This time around, I am much more prepared and know what to expect. I have a lot more experience and maturity.”
The third spot on the U.S women’s team for the team competition will be decided on the weekend at the qualification tournament.
Zhang opened the tournament with a 4-0 win over Yi Lu of Canada. In the semifinals, Zhang held off a tough challenge from 14-year-old Crystal Wang of Bellevue, Wash., 4-2. Wang had rallied by winning the last two games to beat Chen Wang of New York 4-2 in the first round. Wang was a 2008 Olympian.
Zheng, the 2015 U.S. champion, is from Milpitas, Calif.
The U.S. didn’t place a player in the men’s final.