TABLE TENNIS: Kumar and Zhang earn Pan Am spots at U.S. Trials

U.S. table tennis star Lily Zhang

USA Table Tennis chose its entries for the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru via a Trials tournament at Santa Monica College last weekend, finishing with round-robin play between the top eight men and the top 10 women.

Sixteen-year-old Nikhil Kumar, ranked no. 20 in the U.S., came out on top of the men’s tournament, going undefeated (7-0) and winning five of his matches from 4-0 or 4-1 set scores. He bested the runner-up, Victor Liu, four sets to two.

The women’s division was expected to come down to experienced international veterans Lily Zhang and Yue Wu. And, in fact, both made it through their eight other opponents without a blemish, although Wu had to go to seven games for 4-3 wins in two different matches.

So they faced off. Zhang got out to a 2-0 lead, but Wu won the third game to close to 2-1. Zhang won again, but down 3-1, Wu rallied to close to 3-2. In the sixth game, Wu was up 8-7 and serving, but Zhang closed it out with a couple of brilliant rallies and won 11-7 to take the match, 4-2, and secure a place on the plane to Lima in the summer. Summaries:

USA Table Tennis Pan Am Games Trials
Santa Monica, California (USA) ~ 1-3 March 2019
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Nikhil Kumar (7-0); 2. Victor Liu (6-1); 3. Nicholas Tio (5-2); 4. Kunal Chodri (4-3); 5. Ted Chensheng Li (3-4); 6. William Bai (2-5); 7. Allen Wang (1-6); 8. Aditya Godhwani (0-7).

Women: 1. Lily Zhang (9-0); 2. Yue Wu (8-1); 3. Xinyue Wang (6-3); 4. Crystal Wang (6-3); 5. Amy Wang (5-4); 6. Rachel Sung (5-4); 7. Rachel Yang (3-6); 8. Lavanya Maruthapandian (2-7).

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