21 Dec 2018

A total of 555 players, 120 tables, 700 medals to be awarded and a prize fund of over US$ 50,000.00; such are the basic facts of the 2018 United States Open, play commenced in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, on Monday 17th December.

Qualification the order of the opening two days of action, it is on the third day the leading names enter the arena; the host nation’s Kanak Jha and Wu Yue, the players who will be very much in focus. They are the top seeds in the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles events.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Both have the same goal, both seeking the top step of the podium at the tournament for the first time in their careers.

Success would to some extent be the icing on the cake for Kanak Jha. Matters did not turn out the way he had hoped earlier this month at the World Junior Championships in Bendigo when the top seed, he was beaten in the second round by China’s Yu Heyi.

However, in February he emerged successful at the ITTF World Junior Circuit Finals, later he won the Boys’ Singles event at the Pan American Junior Championships in Santo Domingo before repeating the success at the Pan American Championships in Santiago by being crowned Men’s Singles champion. Also and arguably the most prized possession of the year, he was the bronze medallist at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

In Orlando, Kanak Jha is listed ahead of Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez, Canada’s Eugene Wang and Rajko Gommers of the Netherlands. Notably Eugene Wang is one of three previous winners competing this year; he emerged successful in 2012 and 2013; the other two are China Tao Wenzhang, the no.9 seed and the host nation’s Wang Jinxin, the no.17 seed. Tao Wenzhang won in 2014, Wang Jinxin the following year in 2015.

Meanwhile, the situation for Wu Yue is somewhat different to that of Kanak Jha; winner of the Women’s Singles title at the 2015 Pan American Games in Markham. In both the Women’s Team and Women’s Singles events at the Pan American Championships she had to settle for silver.

Brazil proved her nemesis; in the final of the Women’s Team event, she was beaten by Bruna Takahashi in the fifth and deciding match of the fixture; in the Women’s Singles she departed at the quarter-final stage, beaten by Gui Lin.

Next in line to Wu Yue in Orlando is Germany’s Nina Mittelham, followed by the host nation’s Lily Zhang and England’s Tin-Tin Ho; the only previous winner on duty is Liu Juan she is the no.17 seed and with reigning United States champion.

2018 United States Open: Seeding and Results

2018 United States Open: Feature articles by Matt Hetherington and Richard Finn

2018 United States Open Kanak Jha Wu Yue