Beiwen Zhang fell just short in her quest to win a second U.S. Open title, falling to 2012 Olympic gold medalist Li Xuerui of China in the championship game on Sunday in Fullerton, California.
Zhang won the first game, 26-24, but Li, who is coming back from a knee injury suffered in the semifinals of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, gathered momentum to claim the final two games.
Much like the first game, the second game started off close and was tied, 10-10, but unlike the first game, in which Zhang went on a run, this time it was Li. The two-time Olympian scored 11 of the next 16 points and won the game, 21-15. The third game went in similar fashion, with Li surging ahead after the score was tied, 8-8, en route to a 21-11 win.
Zhang had to fight back in the semifinals against reigning U.S. Open champ Aya Ohori of Japan in order to make Sunday’s final. She lost the first game and was down 20-14 in the second before going on a run and claiming 23-21 victory. She then won the third game, 21-13.
Born in China, Zheng previously competed for her birth country and then Singapore. She has played for the U.S. since 2013.
Earlier this season, Zhang won the India Open. She previously won the U.S. Open in 2014, which is the last time any American singles player medaled at the event.
The BWF World Tour consists of 26 events, each ranked within four tiers. The India Open is a Super 500 event ($350,000 in prize money) and the U.S. Open a Super 300 ($150,000). Zhang is ranked ninth in the world tour.