This weekend, February 2-4, in Luxembourg, will see the ultimate showdown of the top contenders from the 2017 World Junior Circuit. A tough and level field of 16 boys and 16 girls will face off for the highest honors, and among those players will be USA's Kanak Jha, Sharon Alguetti and Amy Wang.
Having recently returned from a very intensive training program at the Zhengding National Training base in Hebei Province, China, Amy Wang and Kanak Jha will certainly have table hour behind them as they head into the big event. The two North American qualifiers for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be looking to achieve some top results.
2016 US Olympian Jha leads the field in the seedings, but as always is quick to dismiss the significance. Noting a very tough and level playing field, which includes the likes of Rares Sipos and Cristian Pletea of Romania, Feng Yi-Hsin from Chinese Taipei and India's breakthrough star Manav Thakkar, of course along with USA's own Sharon Alguetti.
There will be no shortage of high quality matches and challenges to face as the US contingent compete, under the guidance of USATT High Performance Director Joerg Bitzigeio, who will be no stranger to this environment and level of competition.
Sharon Alguetti, who departs today, fresh off the back of his win of the Westchester January Open on Sunday. Alguetti defeated Jun Han Wu on his way to the final before taking out Xu Nuo to claim the title. He is one of just 2 US domestic players to reach the final of the Westchester Open Singles, a tournament which is renowned for it's strong competition and frequent attendance by top international players - the likes of Bojan Tokic, Tomislav Pucar, He Zhiwen, Liao Cheng-Ting and others. Alguetti is however aware that the level of competition will be very different in Luxembourg and is vowing to fight hard for every point.
Nagasaki and Shiomi lead the seedings in the girl's event with Romania's Adina Diaconu also up there in the draw. The matches will be a real challenge, but Amy Wang is a player who has shown her ability on the international stage before and will not doubt be looking for a strong finish.
We wish the team the very best of luck and look forward to following and hearing of your performances!