At just 16, U.S. table tennis player Ariel Hsing has already made her Olympic debut a smash success. After winning her first two matches, she just narrowly lost to China’s Li Xiaoxia, the second-seeded player in the tournament. Despite the near upset, Hsing is only ranked number 115 in the world, according to the New York Times.
She matched Xiaoxia shot for shot until the 24-year-old just barely won. In the best-of-seven match, the scores were 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9, the Associated Press reports.
“This was my third match and I just really went for it. I really wanted this match. I learned I just need to go for my shots,” Hsing told ESPN. “If I just let go and play the way I should play, them I’m pretty close with her [Li].”
Her efforts did not go unnoticed. Fan and friend “Uncle Bill” — that’s Bill Gates to the rest of us — watched proudly from the bleachers. “Nothing short of phenomenal,” he said after the game.
Hsing’s table tennis career is wrapped up in a precarious deal she struck with her parents: If her grades slip below straight A’s, the sport will be withheld. With the 2016 Olympics weighing on her mind as a real possibility, the rising high school senior will soon be forced to choose between attending college immediately following high school or postponing to focus on her athletic career.