USA Name Contenders for the 2019 Pan American Cup

By Matt Hetherington | Dec. 29, 2018, 10:25 a.m. (ET)

The Pan American Cup will take place in Puerto Rico , 1-3 February 2019, and four of the USA's best will be in the center of the action. The four US representatives are no stranger to the heat of international competition, and with World Cup qualification on the line they will be giving it everything. 

Lily Zhang and Wu Yue are selected to represent the US Women, while Kanak Jha and Nikhil Kumar proudly represent the Men.

Zhang is no stranger to the event, having convincingly won the crown in 2016. In the final she overcame Canada's Mo Zhang in 4 straight games and earned qualification to the Women's World Cup. 

Similarly, Wu Yue has also excelled at the highest levels in the region, in 2015 she came from an unseeded position to claim victory at the Pan American Games, becoming the second athlete on TeamUSA to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. 

The US women will be highly seeded, both of them presently within the world's top 100, Wu in the top 50. They are likely to face stiff competition from the likes of Canada's Mo Zhang, Brazil's Bruna Takahashi, and of course the home favorite, Puerto Rico's Adriana Diaz who is back to back Pan American Champion.

In the Men's side, Rio Olympian Kanak Jha leads the charge. He has qualified for the Men's World Cup on a few occasions, this year at the Pan Am Cup he took home a bronze medal and more recently was crowned Pan American Champion. Jha sits just outside the world's top 50 male players and is a big contender in the event. 

Nikhil Kumar has proved himself on the international stage, being a real anchor for the US Men's team at this year's World Team Championships, where he won all but one match in division 2. Kumar continues to push the boundaries and will no doubt be hungry to try and capture the best result possible in Puerto Rico.

On the men's side the Brazilian players are most likely to be the biggest road block, the likes of Gustavo Tsuboi or world number 6 Hugo Calderano would be among the toughest opposition, also Mexico's Marcos Madrid, Brian Afanador on home soil in Puerto Rico and a host of other strong potential contestants.

The US are certainly putting their best foot forward for the event and look forward to seeing our players in action!