North America Cup table tennis championships a smash hit in Pleasantville

Ariel Hsing, 17, concentrates during the women's semifinals

Ariel Hsing, 17, concentrates during the women's semifinals at the ITTF North America Cup in Pleasantville. (April 21, 2013) (Credit: Elizabeth Daza)

The best table tennis players on the continent descended on Pleasantville this weekend, thanks in part to Will Shortz, The New York Times' crossword puzzle editor.

Shortz, an avid table tennis player, co-owns the Westchester Table Tennis Center, which hosted the International Table Tennis Federation's North America Cup.

"I used to be completely wrapped up in puzzles," Shortz said. "Two years ago, a friend and I opened the Westchester Table Tennis Center here, and our goal was to play table tennis every day and be this great resource for table tennis enthusiasts."


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Shortz's business partner is Robert Roberts, a table tennis champion from Barbados.

Many of those in attendance were buzzing about the chance to watch 17-year-old Ariel Hsing, the top-ranked women's player in the United States and a 2012 Olympian.

"I guess some people call me a superstar, a rock star of table tennis," Hsing said. "I don't exactly agree with that. I'm just a normal player. I'm just a normal girl. I guess a lot of the little kids are excited to see me, but I'm excited to see them, too."

Hsing, however, fell short Sunday, losing to fellow American Lily Zhang, four games to one. In the men's final, Andre Ho of Canada defeated Tim Wang of the United States, 4-2.

Victor Liu and Crystal Wang, both Americans, won the boys and girls junior tournaments, respectively.

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