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Bay Area Teen Falls to Chinese Powerhouse

Ariel Hsing's showing against No 2-ranked Li Xiaoxia of China in Olympic table tennis also garners her a congratulations from Bill Gates.

 

Fremont resident Ariel Hsing, 16, was on fire Saturday and Sunday during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. 

The 16-year-old Valley Christian High School student, who trains at the , won her first round match against Mexico's Yadira Silva on Saturday with scores of 11-9, 11-8, 11-3, and 11-5.

Her win advanced her to the second round in the morning against 1983 world champion Ni Xia Lian, who now plays table tennis for Luxembourg and is ranked 44th in the world. The match seesawed: 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 10-12, 12-10, with Chinese-born Ni, 49, faltering in the end. 

"Under pressure, it was the older woman who lost her composure, stomping her foot and berating herself for mistakes," Barry Bearak of the New York Times reports

Bearak reports that Ni, who had defeated Hsing two years ago, lost because of her overconfident attitude. The mother of two had reportedly only attended one of the pre-game warm-up sessions.  

“Experience is good to have, but it is not a guarantee,” Ni told Bearak. “Ariel is much improved. I thought she would miss. I tried too many difficult shots when I should have just tried to put the ball on the table.”

Hsing's win advanced her to the third round in the afternoon against Li Xiaoxia of China, where she ultimately lost with scores of 11-4, 9-11, 11-6, 6-11, 11-8, 11-9. Li is ranked No. 2 in the world.

In the first-round match, Li, 24, took an early 8-0 lead. Hsing reportedly came back with a fierce forehand after shrugging off her nerves, but lost by two points in the final round. 

"In the final games of the third-round match, both players were emotional, pumping their fists and swiping at the air, reacting to every point," Bearak states. 

Hsing, whose parents emigrated from Taiwan and China two decades ago, gained attention because of her friendship with billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, according to AP Writer Stephen Wade. San Jose Mercury News sports columnist Mark Purdy described how Gates congratulated her when she came off court.

China has won 20 of 24 gold medals since table tennis was added to the Olympic games in 1988, Wade writes. The Chinese are expected to maintain their winning streak by sweeping all four gold medals this year in the singles and team events. 

Next, Hsing will play in the team event with fellow 16-year-old teammates Lily Zhang and Erica Wu, Fox News reports. 

Zhang, 16, a Palo Alto High School student,  against 28-year-old Cornelia Molnar of Croatia.

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mun July 30, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I enjoyed the article. Thanks for reporting it. I also emailed the link to a friend but I wonder why it was necessary to type in the two words that were hardly legible?
mun July 30, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I enjoyed the article. Thanks for reporting it. I also emailed the link to a friend but I wonder why it was necessary to type in the two words that were hardly legible?
Eric Nelson July 30, 2012 at 11:35 PM
No doubt she'll be back in 2016... and 2020... and...

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