Tommy Paul beats Ben Shelton in all-American clash to reach Australian Open semifinals
Few would have expected either of them to reach the quarter-final stage in Melbourne, but Paul’s experience told as he won 7-6, 6-3 5-7 6-4 to reach the semi-finals with the nine-time winner. for collision Novak Djokovic Or world number 6 Andrei Rublev.
Paul, currently ranked 35th in the world, is now guaranteed to break into the world top 20 for the first time in his career and become the first American to reach the last four of the Australian Open since Andy Roddick in 2009. .
“This is my first time in this court [Rod Laver Arena], my first in a Slam quarterfinal,” the 25-year-old Paul said after the match. “It’s also Ben Shelton’s first time leaving the States, so I think he’s had a great tournament as well.
“Getting to the second weekend of a Slam is everybody’s dream when they start playing tennis, so I can’t believe I’m here right now.”
Shelton has been a revelation this Australian Open.
The big lefty was playing in just the second Grand Slam of his career – the first coming at the US Open at the end of 2022 – and had never before traveled to New Zealand and Australia in preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year. Even outside the US.
The 20-year-old currently boasts a career-high ranking – world No. 89 – and his performances in Australia so far mean he will be ranked in the world’s top 50 come Monday.
Shelton gave his best account of himself in Wednesday’s match, coming back from a break down to win the third set when it looked like Paul would walk away with a straight sets win.
Shelton also threw 24 aces during the match, the fastest hitting 220 km/h and 42 winners. However, it was a lack of consistency and 50 errors to Paul’s 26 – which helped his opponent come away with the win.
with compatriots Sebastian Korda Also reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne, it was the first time since 2000 – when Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Chris Woodruff reached the last eight – that three Americans reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
The 2023 season was already looking promising for American tennis – with Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Jessica Pegula and Coco Goff leading the way – but the emergence of Paul and Shelton as contenders to go deep into the Grand Slam is all that matters. does something More interesting.