Ben Shelton surges into first Grand Slam semi-final, faces Djokovic challenge next
Posted : 06 September 2023
Ben Shelton, the 20-year-old American sensation, advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open by defeating his fellow compatriot, the 10th seed Frances Tiafoe, in a thrilling four-set match. Shelton's impressive performance, with a score of 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, made him the youngest American to reach the semi-finals in New York in 30 years. His remarkable run sets up a challenging showdown against 23-time major winner Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Reflecting on his victory, Shelton described it as an "emotional battle" and acknowledged the tough challenge ahead of him against Djokovic, who is 16 years his senior. This victory also guarantees Shelton a significant rise in the rankings, as he started the tournament ranked No. 47 in the world.
The match saw Shelton dominate the first set, securing a double break and winning 6-2. However, Tiafoe fought back in the second set, breaking Shelton and leveling the match at 1-1. The third set was a rollercoaster, with both players exchanging breaks, and it ultimately went to a tie-break. Shelton saved a set point and prevailed in the tie-break, showcasing his mental resilience. In the fourth set, Shelton secured an early break, maintaining his lead to close out the match.
Shelton's impressive performance included hitting 50 winners and landing 14 aces, ultimately denying Tiafoe a second consecutive appearance in the US Open semi-finals. The victory also marked a significant achievement for Shelton, who has rapidly risen through the ranks.
Now, Shelton faces the formidable challenge of competing against Novak Djokovic, who advanced to the semi-finals by defeating Taylor Fritz in straight sets. Djokovic is pursuing his third major title of 2023 and poses a daunting task for the young American.
The other semi-final matchups will be determined in the remaining quarter-finals, with top seed Carlos Alcaraz facing Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev taking on Andrey Rublev. Shelton is looking forward to the upcoming challenge and hopes to continue his impressive run in the tournament.