Australian Open: Tommy Paul downs Ben Shelton for first Major SF


World no. 35 Tommy Paul is through to his first Major semi-final at the Australian Open. Tommy came to Melbourne with 11 wins at Majors and will now have a chance to fight for a place in the final against Novak Djokovic or Andrey Rublev. Paul took down another young American Ben Shelton 7-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in three hours and six minutes at Rod Laver Arena. Thus, Tommy became the first American player in the Australian Open semi-final since Andy Roddick in 2009. Shelton played his first tournament outside the USA and embraced a brilliant run toward the quarter-final. He fired 24 aces today, but it was not enough for more than a set. 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! Tommy hit 43 winners and 26 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and taking advantage of the opponent’s 50 unforced mistakes.

Tommy Paul defeated Ben Shelton in four sets at Rod Laver Arena.

He played better behind the first and second serve and dropped only 21 points behind the initial shot to keep the pressure on the other side. Paul and Shelton stayed neck and neck in the shortest range up to four strokes. Tommy took charge in the more advanced exchanges and left the rival far behind to forge the victory. The opening set saw only one break point, and Ben saved it in the third game to avoid an early setback. The returners had no more chances until the tie break, and there were no mini-breaks in the first 12 points. Shelton saved a set point at 5-6 before Paul seized the second at 7-6 to build the advantage.

The second set offered break chances on both sides in the middle games, and Paul grabbed his opportunity. The older American broke the rival in game six to open a 4-2 gap and held at 15 in game nine to create a 6-3, 7-6 lead and move closer to the finish line. Shelton survived the third set’s third game before getting broken at 3-3. Paul stood a couple of games from the finish line, but it was not to be for him at that point. Ben broke back in game eight, saved break points in the next one and delivered his second break at 6-5 to steal the set and extend the battle. Paul started all over in the fourth set and dropped only three points behind the initial shot. He broke Shelton in the first game and kept the pressure on the other side. The younger American saved a match point on serve in game nine, and the more experienced player sealed the deal with a hold at 5-4 to book a place in the last four.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login