Like Father, Like Son: Ben Shelton Triumphs in Houston 32 Years After Dad

Ben Shelton claimed his second ATP title at home in Houston

by Jovica Ilic
Like Father, Like Son: Ben Shelton Triumphs in Houston 32 Years After Dad
© Stream screenshot

Ben Shelton claimed his second ATP title in Houston, entering the draw as the top seed and lifting the trophy. Ben took down the defending champion Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 16 minutes, following his father's footsteps.

Bryan Shelton conquered the River Oaks International Tennis Tournament in Houston on April 5, 1992, beating Jeff Tarango in three sets in the final. Now, his son is an ATP champion of the famous Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship, the youngest since Andy Roddick in 2002.

With 250 ATP points on his tally, Ben became world no. 14, having a chance to attack a top-10 spot after defending only 300 ATP points before the US Open.

Ben Shelton, Houston 2024© Stream screenshot

Shelton landed 11 aces and eight double faults, making the difference with his first serve and facing only two break points.

Tiafoe grabbed a break in the second set, but it was not enough to keep him competitive after getting broken once in sets one and three. The younger American left the second set behind and produced five comfortable holds in the decider, adding a single break that carried him over the top.

The returners had no chances in the opening nine games of the encounter, with no deuces or break chances. Ben kicked off the action with a forehand winner in the first game, and Frances responded with a forehand down the line winner in game two for 1-1.

Shelton painted a forehand winner in the third game for 2-1, and the defending champion followed that pace with a fine hold in the next one. The top seed grabbed the fifth game with a serve & volley combo and opened a 30-0 lead on the return before his rival clinched four straight points for 3-3.

Tiafoe locked the result at 4-4 with a smash winner in game eight and squandered a game point in game ten. Shelton created a set point, and Tiafoe denied it, holding and prolonging the action. Ben held at love in the 11th game and made another push on the return in the next one.

The younger American created a set point and converted it when the defending champion placed a forehand wide, clinching the opener 7-5 after 48 minutes.

Ben Shelton, Houston 2024© Stream screenshot

Ben Shelton clinched his second ATP title in Houston over Frances Tiafoe.

Frances served well in the second set, providing five comfortable holds and making the difference with an early break.

Tiafoe forced Shelton's mistake in the third game, notching his only break and moving 2-1 in front. Frances delivered a comfortable hold in game four for 3-1 and grabbed the sixth after deuce for 4-2. The more experienced American kept the lead with a fine hold in game eight and served for the set at 5-4.

Tiafoe drew Shelton's mistake after an extended rally for a set point and seized it with another, wrapping up the set 6-4 and introducing a decider after an hour and 32 minutes. Ben kept his composure and delivered five relaxed service games, mounting the pressure on the other side.

Bryan Shelton, Houston 2024© Stream screenshot

A left-handed secured the third game after deuce and made a decisive push on the return in the next one. Ben caused Frances' mistake with a backhand attack, earning a break at 15 and opening a massive 3-1 advantage.

The top seed held at 30 for 4-1 and stayed in front with a hold at love in game seven. Shelton served for the title at 5-3 and held at love after a forehand drive-volley winner, celebrating his second ATP title at 21 and the first on clay.

Taylor Fritz experienced an early loss in Monte Carlo, dropping massive points and allowing Ben to become the top-ranked American next week. Shelton will take a couple of weeks off the court before returning to action at the Madrid Masters, hoping for another good result on the fast clay in Caja Magica.

Ben clinched his first ATP title last October in Tokyo, beating five rivals and lifting a trophy. The American faced Taro Daniel in the first round and lost the opening set. Shelton responded with a late break in the second set, forcing a decider where they stayed neck and neck.

A left-hander defended a break point in the ninth game and claimed a tie break 7-2 for a winning start. The young gun also had to dig deep in the second round, losing the opener against Jordan Thompson before leveling the overall score with a break at 5-4 in the second.

Ben secured an early break in the decider and brought the victory home, booking a place in the quarter-final. Shelton faced fellow American Tommy Paul and earned a 7-6, 6-3 triumph, remaining on the title course.=

Ben Shelton, Houston 2024© Stream screenshot

Ben saved four break points in the opener before earning a break and moving 5-4 in front.

A left-hander served for the set in game ten and suffered a break, keeping his rival in contention. Shelton stayed composed in the tie break, winning it 7-4 and sealing the deal after clinching three straight games at 3-3 in the second set.

Ben faced another American Marcos Giron in the last four, staying on the court for almost three hours and prevailing 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. Shelton squandered a 5-3 lead in the first set and lost in the tie break. Giron served well in the second set and delivered two breaks, opening a 5-2 lead and moving closer to the finish line.

With no room for errors, Shelton pulled two break backs in games eight and ten, locking the result at 5-5 and gathering a boost. Ben won the tie break 7-5, forcing a decider and securing a crucial break at 3-3. Shelton served for the win in game ten and saved a break point, sealing the deal and setting the title clash versus Aslan Karatsev.

Ben scored a 7-5, 6-3 triumph, celebrating his first ATP title. The American clinched three straight games from 4-5 in the opener and broke the rival's resistance in the second set with three consecutive return games.

Ben Shelton