From World Juniors to Wild Cards: Ho and Patel Set for U.S. Open Debuts

Madison Ho (l) and Zane Patel at the 2023 World Junior Championships

The 2023 U.S. Open Championships presented by Truist will showcase two of members of the Team USA’s World Junior Championships squad–Zane Patel and Madison Ho–who will make their PSA Platinum debuts as wild cards at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center Saturday, October 7, in Philadelphia.

This summer, Patel and Ho went up against the world’s top junior players in Melbourne, Australia. Ho played a vital role on the U.S. Junior Women’s Team who returned to the World Junior Women’s Team Championship podium for the first time since 2015 with a third place finish. Patel recorded five individual wins–including winning the 25th place playoff draw and will be eligible to play in the 2024 World Juniors set to take place in Houston next summer.

Both players will now aim to use their experience of playing the world’s top juniors as they face the world’s top professionals at the U.S. Open.

Ho, who is entering her freshman year at Stanford, will face Canada’s world No. 19 Hollie Naughton on the Lenfest Glass Court at 4:30pm ET.

“World Juniors was an amazing opportunity to compete internationally and play against a variety of different styles,” Ho said. “It was also a great sneak peak into competing at the PSA level given that many players are also on the professional tour. I can’t wait to experience what it’s like to compete at a high level on the pro tour. I’m also excited to be back in Philly playing at Specter Center, which feels like a second home by now!”

Patel, who is entering his senior year of high school in Palo Alto, California, will play Scotland’s world No. 21 Greg Lobban on the Lenfest Glass Court at 2:15pm ET.

“Playing at Worlds, you get to see and compete against the highest level junior squash in the world,” Patel said. “While the PSA is literally an entirely different ballgame, my experiences from Worlds definitely gives me some idea of what playing with the highest caliber players is like. I’m most looking forward to being able to play against the pros that I’ve watched and learned from for so long. Just being in the same draw as these players is a massive privilege and I am very excited to have this opportunity.”

The other two wild card spots feature familiar faces in Spencer Lovejoy and Lucie Stefanoni, who both return for their second straight U.S. Open wild card appearances.

Lovejoy produced a breakthrough performance at the Specter Center in April when he reached the finals of the S.L. Green U.S. Men’s Championship final. The world No. 68 and Yale graduate will go up against former Penn No. 1 Aly Abou Eleinen in the first round on the Lenfest court at 5:15pm.

Lucie Stefanoni joins her older sister, Marina, in the draw and will aim to emulate her 2022 first round performance when she pushed world No. 28 Nadine Shahin to five games.

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