Palo Alto's Zhang opens Youth Olympics with two victories


Palo Alto grad Lily Zhang won all three of her group table tennis matches in the women's singles division at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China on Sunday to advance into the quarterfinal round.

Zhang, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics as a 16-year-old, plays in the quarterfinal round on Monday afternoon, local time.

Lily Zhang/USOC
Zhang is the only undefeated player in her group and has qualified for the quarterfinal round, which will be contested Monday evening.

Zhang, who speaks Chinese, is familiar with the international stage, having finished third at the ITTF North America Cup in Canada earlier this summer in addition to competing at the Olympics. She's also been to the World Junior Championships and owns a U.S. national title.

She's the first American to compete at the Olympic Games before earning a spot at the Youth Olympic Games, designed for ages 15-18, and the 10th from the U.S. to participate in both versions of the Games.

Zhang, who won the Under-21 title at the U.S. Open just prior to departing for London two years ago, opened with an 11-9, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8 victory over Korea's Seri Park and followed that with a 7-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-6 win over France's Audrey Zarif.

She completed her undefeated swing through Group D by downing Regina Kim of Uzbekistan, 11-4, 11-4, 11-6.

In men's swimming, incoming Stanford freshman Patrick Conaton reached the semifinals of the 100-meter backstroke, where he finished sixth in 56.95.

Conaton advanced to the semifinals by finishing third in his preliminary heat, swimming 56.59.

High school senior Sabrina Massialas, whose older brother Alexander is a junior on Stanford's men's fencing team, won the individual women's foil gold medal after winning four matches on Sunday.

She opened with a 15-7 victory over Egypt's Yara El Sharkawy and then beat Hungary's Flora Pasztor, 15-9, in the quarterfinals.

Massialas defeated China's Ali Huang, the crowd favorite, 12-7 (3-1, 5-0, 4-6), in the semifinal before edging Japan's Karin Miyawaki, 7-6 (2-1, 3-1, 2-4), in the gold medal match.

Alexander Massialas competed at the 2012 London Olympics and owns championship medals from the Pan-American Games, the World Cup in South Korea and has a bronze medal from the Tokyo Grand Prix.

He won the NCAA men's foil title as a freshman and was third last year. He advanced to the NCAA tournament by winning the West Regional title. Massialas has a 104-14 record over his first two years at Stanford.

Their father, Olympian Greg Massialas, coaches both student-athletes.

The Youth Olympic Games, which feature the 28 sports on the program for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, continues through August 27.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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