Image from NBC Olympics
Wu Eliminated in Battle of Debutants
Jennifer Wu had already made teamusa proud in round 1 by upsetting 2015 European Games semifinalist and top 100 world ranked player, Eva Odorova of Slovakia. Next she moved on to a battle hardened opponent who had more than a little something to prove. For both players it was their Olympic debut, for one of them being in Rio was the result of a much longer journey.
Qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Mathilda Ekholm's dream was snatched away when the Swedish Olympic Committee denied her entry into the games, citing her lack of potential (in their opinion) to have any chance at medal contention. Four years later Ekholm was in the spotlight again when she did the unthinkable and won the World Final Olympic Qualification in Doha, Qatar. Again despite her best results she was denied a chance to become and Olympian.
The sad story has a happy ending, qualifying for Rio she finally had her chance to make an appearance, one which was almost cut short by an American with a vision.
The match between Wu Yue and Mathilda Ekholm could be described as nothing less than a thriller, with the tables turning constantly right until the very end.
Wu won the first game, 11-9. It was a tightly contested battle that carried over into the second and third games, which were won by Ekholm, 11-8 and 11-8, respectively. Wu rebounded and evened up the match with an 11-5 win. The tension had really started to build at 2-2. A matchup between Jennifer Wu, ranked 150 in the world against a player nearly 100 ranking places higher and the underdog was really producing an incredible fight.
In the fifth game, Ekholm opened up with a 6-0 lead and would go on to win 11-6. Wu almost matched Ekholm’s feat in the sixth game, opening with five unanswered points before Ekholm climbed back into the game. After pushing it to 10-10, Ekholm would close out the game and match by winning 12-10. At the ending points of the match it was a heavy underspin reverse serve from the left handed Swede which really caused Wu problems. The end result 4-2 for Ekholm.
“It was a great experience and something I can learn from. Now, we can focus on the team matches. We need to prepare to play Germany. They have a chopper and leftie so we have to get some practice against those players.” says Wu who despite the tough loss still puts the team position first. A proud effort and despite not being the result she had hoped for, a stellar performance.
Be sure to tune in on the 8th as Lily Zhang advances to the third round of the Women's Singles Competition. Keep in the loop via the USATT Olympic Homepage:
Jennifer will compete in the Women's World Cup to be hosted by Philadelphia, USA in October. Check the link for details and tickets!