USA Account for Top Seeds on Opening Day at Pan Am Champs

By Matt Hetherington | Nov. 20, 2018, 11:15 p.m. (ET)

The US teams are currently giving it their best in Chile at the 2018 Pan American Table Tennis Championships. The Men's team got off to a flying start, seeded 9th in the competition they pulled off an excellent upset. 

With Kanak Jha leading the charge, the team seeding of 9th may underestimate the US Men, with Jha ranked well inside the world's top 100, joined by Nikhil Kumar, Victor Liu and Nick Tio. 

Tio is fresh from moving to Grenzau, Germany, alongside Jha, both training full time and competing in the league, while Nikhil Kumar continues to improve his game here in the US and Victor Liu who has been excelling in his first appearances in the German league also. As 9th seeds, they were ready to show their true level. 

What better way to complete that task than to upset the top seeds. They did just that. In their opening fixture they took on Brazil and succeeded with a 3-1 score margin. The team of Thiago Monteiro, Eric Jouti and Vitor Ishiy were strong but the US proved stronger. 

Kanak Jha led the charge, claiming both of his singles matches. A shaky start with Eric Jouti took him into a 5th set showdown, but he upped his level and took the final game 11-1. After having lost the first point in the doubles, the win from Jha was a vital point for the team. 

Nikhil Kumar doubled down by winning his match against Vitor Ishiy 3-1, before Jha came back to the table to finish the job against Thiago Monteiro. 

The veteran Brazilian player who has frequently settled with a world ranking around 100-120 over the years proved no match as the young American stole away the match in straight games. 

The US Men's team take on the Dominican Republic tomorrow in their other group match.

The US Women's Team hosts the two Olympians Lily Zhang and Wu Yue, alongside Wang Xinyue and this year's US National finalist Angela Guan. 

The team won their group today with 3-0 victories over both Guatemala and Dominican Republic. 

A couple of games were lost against Dominican Republic but the women's team looked strong as they imposed themselves as the top seeds in their group stage and swept their matches. 

So tomorrow the Men will face off against the Dominican Republic, while the women's first match is yet to be determined as the other groups are yet to be completed before the quarterfinal stage. 

We wish all our players the very best of luck and praise them on their performances on day one!