Tommy Paul became the first American to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open since Andy Roddick in 2009.after defeating his compatriot Ben Shelton 7-6(6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in a match that lasted three hours and six minutes.
Paul will be the last representative of America in a draw that has accumulated up to four tennis players from this country in the round of 16 (Sebastian Korda, Tommy Paul, JJ Wolf and Ben Shelton).
“It’s the first time I’ve played on this court and in the quarterfinal, and it’s also the first time Ben has left the United States to play”, he commented after the clash in reference to a Ben Shelton who completed a great performance in what was his first tournament outside his home country.
The tennis player from New Jersey, who finished with Roberto Bautista (24) in the round of 16, The winner of the match between Serbian Novak Djokovic (4) and Russian Andrey Rublev (5) will face off in the semifinals, which will be held in the night session at Rod Laver Arena.
Paul capped what has been the best week as a tennis professional for 20-year-old Ben Shelton after he conceded in the quarterfinals a ‘slam’ in what became his second participation in a tournament of this quality.
His Grand Slam debut came at the recent US Open when he fell in the first round against Portuguese Nuno Borges in five sets.
The attractive conditions presented by the afternoon at Melbourne Park, with a bright sun and a temperature of 30 degrees, were not enough to attract a timid public far from completing the capacity of the Rod Laver Arena.
The Americans delighted the Australian supporters in the first set which went down to a tiebreaker game on the side of a Paul who was more complete by making six fewer errors and embroidering the first serve where 90% of the points played were won.
Paul continued in the second without giving away a free point to an opponent who lost serve, going from 59% to 50% of first serves in the game.
The one from New Jersey took a break when the score looked 3-2 in his favor and led the second set to score 6-3.
Paul’s heat and consistency presented an uphill battle for a Shelton who a year ago was ranked 569 on the ATP list and didn’t even play as the first seed for the University of Florida team.
However, aware of the importance of the appointment, he did not give up and responded with an ‘in extremis’ double-break to break the deficit to score the set 7-5.
The young man from Atlanta was amused by the lethargic crowd due to the intense heat in the south and he put his finger to his ear to ask for his support with a view to the fourth sleeve which would be final.
Paul got an early break in the fourth set and keep the lead until the final 6-4.
Paul’s consistency, repetition and excellent service overcame the improvisation and sporadic tennis of a young Shelton who offered glimpses of potential that could reach high quotas if he continues to work, and the resulting improvement, which saw him reach the quarterfinals of the ‘major aussie’.
Source: La Verdad