Ben Shelton beats Sinner: "I never stopped believing in me"


Ben Shelton beats Sinner: "I never stopped believing in me"
Ben Shelton beats Sinner: "I never stopped believing in me" © Lintao Zhang / Staff Getty Images Sport

Ben Shelton, the day after celebrating his 20th birthday, achieved one of the most important successes of his career, beating world number 4 Jannik Sinner in the round of 16 of the ATP Master 1000 in Shanghai with an incredible comeback.

The match finishes 2-6 6-3 7-6 (5) for the American player, the first meeting between the two, after 2 hours and 32 minutes of match. After clearly losing the first set, the American tennis player significantly increased his first serve percentage, winning the second set thanks to a break in the fourth game and completing the comeback in the tiebreak of the decisive set.

In the press conference, Shelton expressed his joy at having demonstrated his potential once again.

Ben Shelton: "It's crazy what I experienced tonight"

The 20-year-old American, after the success over the Italian, said he was almost incredulous.

He said: "It's crazy what I experienced tonight, an incredible atmosphere with all these people. If I stop to think about it, a year and a half ago I was still in college, playing some Challenger tournaments, but now I'm here, on Center Court in an ATP Masters 1000 as important as the one in Shanghai.

And as if that wasn't enough, the whole crowd wishing me a happy birthday is something incredible, one of those moments I will never forget.

I never stopped believing in my possibilities, especially when it came to slowly building my style of play through serving.

The only thing I had to do was go a little deeper into the sets we played, believing in my shots and my abilities. It didn't start well, with a big gap between us, maybe I was somehow paying the wear and tear of having played some matches recently, but in the end it was my tennis that gave me the confidence I needed."

On the match he explained: "He worked very well in the first set, putting pressure on me on my serve, which is why my serve wasn't working as I wanted.

As the games went by I found my rhythm, I developed my serve much better and I ended up serving very well in both the second and third sets. In fact, I would say that in the last two sets I managed to serve as well as on my best days.

All these conditions helped me and led me to show my best level of tennis."

For Shelton, this is the first quarter-final in a Masters 1000: "I really don't know what to tell you, I really don't know. I think I'm a fan of matches in big stadiums, on big stages.

I certainly can't say I had a landing place trivial in the world of professional tennis, just look at where I was last season or where I was four years ago. Right now I'm just focused on continuing to work, continuing to grow and continuing to build this long road with each passing week."

Ben Shelton

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