Australian Open hero Ben Shelton withdraws from Dallas
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 8807
The ATP 250 event in Dallas will take place in the second week of February. The young gun Ben Shelton would have been among the seeded players, but he decided to withdraw following an impressive run at the Australian Open.
Thus, Shelton will not challenge Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Jenson Brooksby, Reilly Opelka and others. Ben played his fifth ATP event in a career in Melbourne and advanced into the quarter-final, earning enough points to crack the top-50 on Monday.
The 20-year-old will take a well-deserved rest and return to action in Delray Beach a week after Dallas. Shelton had never left the USA before 2023. He embraced numerous USTA junior events and started his college career at Florida Gators in 2020, working under his dad Bryan.
Shelton was 28-5 in his freshman season, becoming the squad leader and leading his team toward the NCAA title, targeting the ultimate prize in 2022.
Ben Shelton will not play in Dallas in two weeks.
A teenager became the NCAA singles champion last May and reached the third round at the Cincinnati Masters a few months later, including a win over Casper Ruud.
Shelton decided to turn pro and test his skills against the top-100 rivals. November was Ben's month, dominating with his booming serve and sharp groundstrokes and clinching three consecutive indoor Challenger crowns in Charlottesville, Knoxville and Champaign.
The young gun cracked the top-100, ready to make his first trip outside the USA. Ben turned it into an advantageous ride in Australia, playing at the same place his parents met in 1993. Shelton saved a match point in the Australian Open opening round and ousted Nicolas Jarry in the second to make a name for himself.
Not stopping there, Ben toppled Alexei Popyrin and J.J Wolf to advance into his first Major quarter-final. Thus, he became the youngest American to achieve that since Andy Roddick at Wimbledon 2003. Shelton fell to fellow American Tommy Paul in four sets, giving his everything but ending his journey in the last eight.
Two Americans battled for three hours and six minutes at Rod Laver Arena, and Paul prevailed 7-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Shelton fired 24 aces, needing more to extend the battle. Paul won 25 points more than Shelton and created 15 break chances.
The older American seized three and lost serve two times to prevail in four sets and crack the top-20 for the first time in a career! We should see more from these two players in the rest of the season, especially at their home events in the USA.