Lily Zhang

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Lily Zhang
Full nameLily Ann Zhang[1]
Nationality United States
Born (1996-06-16) June 16, 1996 (age 23)
Redwood City, California
Playing styleShakehand, all-round attack
Highest ranking33 (November 2019][2]
Current ranking33 (November 2019)[2]
Height5.45 ft (166 cm)[3]
Weight117 lb (53 kg)[4]
Lily Ann Zhang
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Lily Ann Zhang (born June 16, 1996) is an American table tennis player who competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London with teammates Ariel Hsing and Erica Wu. She also competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio with teammates Jiaqi Zheng and Jennifer Wu. She is a six time US national champion in women's singles. Zhang has won the US national championship in 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. In 2011, she was a bronze medalist in women's singles and women's team at the Pan American Games and won the women's doubles title at the Qatar Peace and Sport Cup.[1][8][9] She is currently a member of the United States National Women's team. She has been ranked as high as #2 in the cadet (U-15) world ranking[10] and #5 in the junior (U-18) world ranking.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Lily Zhang was born in Redwood City, California on June 16, 1996 to Chinese parents.[4] Her family lived on the campus of Stanford University, where her father was a mathematics professor.[12][13] Her father played for his county’s table tennis team in Xi'an, China, and Lily enjoyed playing table tennis with her parents while she was growing up.[12][13] Dennis Davis, a friend and table tennis colleague of her father, would also bring her to the Palo Alto Table Tennis Club to practice.[14] Lily graduated from Palo Alto High School in 2014 before enrolling in the University of California, Berkeley. After her freshman year, Lily took a gap year off to train for the 2016 Olympic Games. For a part of her gap year, she trained and played league in Austria (trained at home club ICC as well).[15]

Lily is featured in the documentary Top Spin.

U.S. career[edit]

From a young age, Lily Zhang showed promising skill. When she was 7 years old, Dennis Davis, the president and head coach of the Palo Alto Table Tennis Club and the North American representative of the junior commission of International Table Tennis Federation, began training her. When she was 11, Zhang made the U.S. Cadet Team. By age 12, Zhang became the youngest player to ever make the U.S. Women's Team,[14] and when she was 13 years old, she was the #2 ranked Junior Woman table tennis player in the United States.[16]

At the 2010 and 2011 U.S. National Championships, Zhang won the title in the junior girls' event and was the runner-up in women's singles. In 2012, she won her first national championship in women's singles, beating defending champion Ariel Hsing in 7 games.[17]

International career[edit]

Since 2007, Zhang has competed in numerous international events in the cadet, junior girls' and women's categories.

2011 Pan American Games[edit]

Zhang participated in the 2011 Pan American Games where she played both as an individual and as part of the United States team. Zhang and the two other Americans on the team, Ariel Hsing and Erica Wu, took home a team bronze medal. She also won a bronze medal in women's singles.[18]

Qatar Peace and Sport Cup[edit]

On November 22, 2011, Lily Zhang and Russian Anna Tikhomirova won the Women's Doubles title at the Qatar Peace and Sport Cup.[8]

2012 Olympics[edit]

After qualifying for the last singles position on the 2012 United States Olympic Team by beating Canada's Anqi Luo in five games in the North American Olympic Trials, Lily Zhang would head into London as the youngest player of the table tennis competition[19] and was seeded 49th behind her teammate Ariel Hsing.[20] In the first round, Zhang drew Croatian veteran Cornelia Molnar and lost in straight games (11-6,11-8,11-7,11-5).[21]

The team competition saw the United States play second-seeded Japan in the first round of proceedings.[22] Zhang lost to Sayaka Hirano in straight games (11-9,11-5,11-3) and teamed with Erica Wu in the doubles to lose to Kasumi Ishikawa and Ai Fukuhara, also in straight games (11-7,11-7,11-1).[23]

2012 North American Championships[edit]

On September 2, 2012 Zhang won the women's singles title at the ITTF North American Championships with a victory over fellow 2012 Olympian Erica Wu in straight games (11-8,11-3,11-7,11-9).[7] Twice before, at both the 2011 and the 2010 North American Championships she had failed to achieve the title, with losses in the finals on both occasions to Canada's Zhang Mo.[24]

2012 World Junior Championships[edit]

At the 2012 ITTF World Junior Championships in Hyderabad, India, Lily Zhang reached the quarterfinals in singles and also led the USA into the quarterfinals of the team competition.[25] As a result of her performance during the championships (12 wins, 2 losses), Zhang broke into the top 100 of the ITTF women's world ranking for the first time in her career.

2013 US Open[edit]

At the 2013 US Open, Zhang won the title in the junior girls' event. In women's singles (part of the ITTF World Tour), she beat Zhang Mo to advance to the semifinal, where she lost to world #19 Elizabeta Samara in 5 games. Following this tournament, Zhang's world ranking improved to a career-high 84.[26]

2014 Youth Olympic Games[edit]

In August 2014, Lily Zhang was the first ever US athlete to win a bronze medal in the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics. In the contest for bronze, she won over Miyu Kato of Japan in six games.


  1. ^ a b c "ZHANG Lily Ann (USA)". ITTF. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "ITTF World Ranking". ITTF. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  3. ^ "Lily Zhang". Team USA Table Tennis. Archived from the original on July 27, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Lily Zhang – Table Tennis – Olympic Athlete". London 2012. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  5. ^ "XVI Pan-American Games Results Book" (PDF). ITTF. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  6. ^ "XVI Pan-American Games Results Book" (PDF). ITTF. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "2012 ITTF North American Championships". ITTF. Archived from the original on August 19, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Marshall, Ian. "Smiling Faces Print A Thousand Words, Doha Reserves a Place in History". ITTF. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  9. ^ "2012 Olympic Games USA Table Tennis Media Guide". Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  10. ^ "ITTF U-15 World Ranking". Archived from the original on August 28, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  11. ^ "ITTF U-18 World Ranking". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Rosen, Karen (April 6, 2016). "Lily Zhang, Already Having Made Table Tennis History, Is Ready For Another Olympic Shot In Rio". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Espinoza, Alex (August 11, 2016). "2016 Olympics: Top table tennis player Lily Zhang brings Pac-12 flavor to Team USA". Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Lily Zhang, U.S. Table Tennis Champion". Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  15. ^ "Meet the U.S. High School Students Competing in 2012 Olympic Games". U.S. News. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  16. ^ "Bay Area a hotbed for table tennis". ABC News. Retrieved December 30, 2009.
  17. ^ "Ariel Hsing lost her crown at the 2012 US Nationals". Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  18. ^ "XVI Pan-American Games Results Book" (PDF). ITTF. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  19. ^ "Table Tennis at the 2012 London Summer Games". Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  20. ^ "2012 Olympic Games. Women's Singles Seeding List" (PDF). ITTF. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 31, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  21. ^ "Olympics: Lily Zhang Out of Table Tennis Singles Event". Mercury News. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  22. ^ "2012 Olympic Games Women's Team Seeding List" (PDF). ITTF. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  23. ^ "Li Qian Defeats Bronze Medallist but Singapore Recovers to Reach Last Eight". ITTF. Archived from the original on August 15, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  24. ^ Marshall, Ian. "Titles Retained at ITTF-North America Championships in Mississauga". Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  25. ^ "Top Form Maintained, Quarter-Final Places Booked After Earlier Surprise Wins". ITTF. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
  26. ^ "ITTF World Ranking details: ZHANG Lily (USA)". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014.

External links[edit]