Ben Shelton creams Karatsev smoothly to win his first ATP crown in Tokyo

A good recipe of strategies, with the ability to mix them up and produce winners is what's needed to be victorious. Ben Shelton is on the direct path to success in his own right

by GALE MOORMAN
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Ben Shelton creams Karatsev smoothly to win his first ATP crown in Tokyo
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"I hope that I can bring some of my best tennis tomorrow..." Ben Shelton smilingly said after his rough match with Marcos Giron in the Japan semifinal. He admitted to struggling a bit trying to defeat the other American on tour, but Shelton was able to flip the switch, do a change in game plans to win.

Upon walking into the Ariake Coliseum, Ben might have had some butterflies in his belly knowing that this final was the one that is the entree of grabbing his first ATP career title. He was on his fifth round, the championship one and frankly said tha "This is something I've been pushing for.

I've made some deep runs lately." The 21-year-old did make it through to the U.S. Open last month managing to get into the semifinals grounding it out with Novak Djokovic. But Ben bowed to the Serbian in three sets, having lost the last set with a tiebreak.

It was at the Shanghai Masters 1000 that he was in the quarterfinal with the diabolical Sebastian Korda. He had done his signature tiebreaking sets and double digit aces but wasn't clever enough to win over Sebastian. Here and now was the time to prove himself and he felt like he had all the right ingredients to make it happen.

The Atlanta, Georgia native hadn't trailed no more than a break and kept up with Karatsev, leveling the games many times. Ben's ability to simply find the open court and put it away had much sting to his game against Aslan.

It was part his deceptive moves and constant hammering the rallies to Karatsev that forced up many errors. Shelton was clearly having the upper hand this time. The first set win at 7-5 gave Ben the confidence to continue on with his game plan and for sure continuous rallies proved successful at forcing his opponent to create unforced errors, giving Shelton the winning points.

Karatsev was unable to predict his opponent's tactics as the second and winning set of 6-1 was a shoe-in for the smiling Big Ben. Aslan's return went long to give Shelton the first career title at the Japan Open. The 21-year-old was gracious as the on-court interviewer questioned the Japan Open's first time winner.

"...To be able to win a title and do it here in Tokyo, it's really special to me," Ben said with a relieved grin. The rankings will be moving a bit more for him coming from nearly no. 20 to now being ranked number 15 in the world.

He had clocked in 18 aces in his straight set win over Aslan Karatsev in the 84 minutes of match duration. Ben Shelton has a few more tournaments with the ATP Final in Italy coming at the end of a tough, hard working season.

He was all smiles and simply summed up his emotions and feelings saying "I am really looking forward to this tail-end stretch of the year." Shelton is joyful and appreciative of his progress so far and continues to say that "I am looking forward to finishing the season strong."

Ben Shelton
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