World no. 16 Ben Shelton made a notable debut at the Dallas Open, toppling Michael Mmoh 6-3, 6-3 in 63 minutes. Both players served above 70%, and the younger American made the difference with his rock-solid performance behind the initial shot.
Ben dropped three points in his games and turned 38% of the return points into three breaks from six chances, enough to sail over the top and into the last eight. Shelton had the upper hand in the shortest and more advanced exchanges, taming his strokes nicely and keeping unforced errors away from his racquet.
A left-hander closed the encounter's first game with a lucky net cord backhand winner. Mmoh netted a backhand in the second game, offering his rival two break chances.
Ben Shelton is off to a great start in Dallas.
Michael denied them but sprayed a forehand error on the third to drop serve and find himself 2-0 behind.
Ben fired an ace in the third game, holding at 15 and cementing the advantage. Mmoh reduced the deficit with a hold at love in game four before Shelton clinched the next one with a powerful serve for 4-1. The older American closed the sixth game with a forehand winner after deuce, remaining within one break deficit.
Ben secured the seventh game at love after a smash winner, forcing his opponent to serve to stay in the set. Mmoh held at 15 in game eight, reducing the deficit and hoping for a return chance in the next one. Instead, Shelton held at love at 5-3 with a service winner, wrapping up the opener in 33 minutes.
Michael delivered a hold at love at the start of the second set and moved 2-1 up with a powerful serve in game three. Shelton followed that pace, leveling the score at 2-2 with a backhand winner and creating a break chance in game five after Mmoh's behind-the-back volley error.
Michael denied it with a service winner before hitting a costly double fault. Ben seized the second break point after Michael's loose backhand, moving in front and closer to the finish line. A left-hander confirmed the break with a hold at love in game six after an ace, delivering one good hold after another.
Mmoh grabbed the seventh game at 15 with an unreturned serve before Shelton produced more booming serves for a hold at love and 5-3. Michael served to stay in the match in game nine and sprayed a backhand error to offer Ben three match points.
The young gun seized the first with a forehand winner, wrapping up an impressive performance and moving into the quarter-final.