Ben Shelton, a young tennis player, made it to the semi-finals of the US Open after a thrilling match against his fellow American Frances Tiafoe. This achievement is significant because he is the youngest American to reach the semi-finals in 30 years.
Just a year ago, Shelton was ranked 165th in the world and got eliminated in the first round of the US Open. But now, at 20 years old, he has broken into the Top 20 of the ATP Live Rankings and is just one win away from his first Grand Slam final. He secured this victory in his fifth major tournament appearance, winning with scores of 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2.
Shelton was ecstatic after the match, saying, “I felt like I gave my all out there tonight. It was an emotional battle.”
However, his journey to the final won’t be easy, as he faces Novak Djokovic, who is a legendary player with numerous Grand Slam titles.
Before the match, there was a lot of talk about Shelton’s powerful serve, but his ability to return Tiafoe’s serve was just as important. The third set of the match was especially intense, with many service breaks. In the tie-break of that set, Shelton had two set points but also served two double faults. However, he managed to win the set with a fantastic forehand return.
Shelton’s strength was evident in the fourth set when he broke Tiafoe’s serve with some impressive winners. He also pumped up the crowd with his energetic shouts of encouragement.
Tiafoe, known for his entertaining style of play, appeared more composed throughout the match, possibly feeling the pressure of being the favorite against his younger compatriot and defending his semi-final points from the previous year.
Despite being broken several times, Shelton held his serve when it mattered most in the fourth set and hit 50 winners compared to Tiafoe’s 33.
This victory has pushed Shelton to the 19th spot in the ATP Live Rankings. His breakthrough in Grand Slam tournaments came earlier in the year at the Australian Open when he reached the quarter-finals. However, he struggled to maintain consistency until now.
On the other hand, Tiafoe, who was ranked 11th in the Live Race, had been on a 19-match winning streak against left-handed players, including a notable victory over Rafael Nadal in last year’s US Open.