Beiwen Zhang on to Round of 16 at Tokyo 2020

Photo Credit: BadmintonPhoto

On the fifth day of play at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza for Tokyo 2020, women’s singles player Beiwen Zhang put together another remarkable performance against Brazil’s Fabiana Silva en route to her second Olympic win in group play. The win puts the American at 2-0 in group play and into the Round of 16 scheduled for Thursday, July 29. She will face China’s He Bing Jiao, the No. 8 seed, at 9 AM JST (8 PM EDT on July 28 on Court 3. 

Zhang entered the first game firing on all cylinders, opening up a wide 11-2 lead going into the interval. She faced a slight scare out of the break though, as her opponent made up a little ground to make it 12-7, but the American quickly regrouped to win 21-9. 

“In the beginning, it was fine because my opponent [was] not used to my shot,” Zhang said regarding not having played a match in the last two days. On her emotions when the Silva began to catch up, she said “I felt a little nervous because a few of my attacks [were] mistakes.” The momentum started to tilt back in the American’s favor with a few good shots and the nerves dissipated as the game went on with the help of some verbal bursts of emotion after each rally, she explained. 

In the second game, both players traded points as Silva was able to maintain a slight lead but Zhang tied the game at 5-5 and never looked back as she embarked on a streak of 6 points to lead 11-5 at the interval. Another long string of points, 5 this time, gave the U.S. player a 16-6 lead and she would maintain the pace all the way to a 21-10 win to take the match. 

Zhang knows she has a tough road ahead despite her two wins in group play as she moves onto the Round of 16. She’s well-acquainted with her next opponent, China’s No. 8 seed He Bing Jiao, as she explained “(… ) I think the last two I lost to her, so I feel like I should prepare more because she’s also left-handed [which is] different than others in my group.” 

She laughed when asked about the finger-heart she sent to the camera after her first match. As for a message to the fans, she said “I feel like all the athletes, they’re training really hard no matter [if] they lost or [are] winning. We should always support them, not saying bad things.”

The American player will play her Round of 16 match on July 29 at 9 AM JST (8 PM EDT on July 28 on Court 3.

To watch NBC’s stream of matches, click here. For Day 5’s results, click here. For a look ahead at Day 6, click here

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Check out the Tokyo 2020 badminton women’s singles draw here.