Team USA's last woman standing in table tennis

Posted at 9:13 PM, Jul 26, 2021

Skateboarding and surfing made their Olympic debuts in the 2020 Tokyo Games, and Americans have already secured medals in both events. Table Tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988, and while the U.S. has entered athletes into competition every time, they have never taken home any hardware.

Heading into the Round of 16, Team USA's hope for an individual medal this year rests on the shoulders of just one woman, 36-year-old Juan Liu.

Out of 70 entrants in the women's tournament, Liu was seeded 68th and had an uphill battle to stay alive in the bracket. She followed a preliminary round victory over Nigeria's Olufunke Oshonaike with a first round win against Spanish standout Galia Dvorak. She then swept Slovakian Barbora Balazova in Round 2, and earned a come-from-behind victory against 14 seed Bernadette Szocs of Romania in the third round.

Soon after Liu's win, fellow American Lily Zhang was knocked out of the tournament by Chen Szu-yu of Chinese Taipei. With Team USA's two men already eliminated from their singles bracket, it leaves Liu as the only individual player left for the United States.

Liu takes on two-time Olympian Yu Mengyu of Singapore to try and become the first American woman to make it to the final eight since Wang Chen in 2008.

The only other hopes for the United States to find its first medal in table tennis at the 2020 Olympics are in the brackets for men's and women's doubles.