Tommy Paul beats Ben Shelton in all-American clash to reach Australian Open semifinals

CNN
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Tommy Paul beat fellow American Ben Shelton in a hard-fought match on the Australian Open to achieve the primary grand slam semifinal of his profession.

Few would have anticipated both of those males to achieve the quarterfinal stage in Melbourne, however Paul’s expertise instructed as he received 7-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 to arrange a semifinal conflict in opposition to both nine-time winner Novak Djokovic or world No. 6 Andrey Rublev.

Paul, presently ranked No. 35 on this planet, is now assured to climb into the world’s prime 20 for the primary time in his profession and turns into the primary American man to achieve the final 4 of the Australian Open since Andy Roddick in 2009.

“That is my first time on this courtroom [Rod Laver Arena], my first within the quarterfinals of a slam,” the 25-year-old Paul mentioned after the match. “It’s also Ben Shelton’s first time leaving the States, so I believe he’s had a fairly good event as nicely.

“Making it to the second weekend of a slam is everybody’s dream after they begin taking part in tennis, so I can’t imagine I’m right here proper now.”

Shelton has been the revelation of this Australian Open.

The massive-hitting lefty was taking part in in solely the second grand slam of his profession – the primary coming on the US Open on the finish of 2022 – and earlier than touring to New Zealand and Australia in preparation for the primary grand slam of the yr had by no means even been exterior of the US.

The 20-year-old presently boasts a career-high rating – world No. 89 – and his performances to date in Australia means he’ll now be ranked on this planet’s prime 50 come Monday.

Shelton gave a very good account of himself in Wednesday’s match, preventing again from a break right down to take the third set when it seemed as if Paul would stroll away with a straight units win.

Shelton additionally fired down 24 aces in the course of the match, the quickest a booming 220 km/h, and 42 winners. Nonetheless, it was the dearth of consistency and unforced errors – 50 in comparison with Paul’s 26 – that helped his opponent come away with the win.

With compatriot Sebastian Korda additionally reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne, it was the primary time since 2000 – when Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Chris Woodruff reached the final eight – that three US gamers have made the Australian Open’s quarterfinals.

The 2023 season was already trying like a promising one for American tennis – with Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff main the cost – however the emergence of Paul and Shelton as contenders to go deep in grand slams solely makes it all of the extra thrilling.