Ben Shelton Stuns Frances Tiafoe to Reach US Open Semifinals, Setting Up Novak Djokovic Showdown

US Open 2023, Ben Shelton

In a scintillating all-American clash that lived up to its blockbuster billing, the 20-year-old Ben Shelton made history by becoming the youngest American to reach the US Open men’s semifinals since Michael Chang in 1992. In an electrifying night session under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights, Shelton outlasted Frances Tiafoe in a gripping four-set encounter, with a final scoreline of 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2.

The atmosphere was nothing short of electric as the two Black American men battled on the world’s largest tennis venue, marking a significant moment in tennis history. Notably, it was the first time in 15 years that two Black American men faced off on this prestigious stage. The stakes were undeniably high, as the winner would earn the right to challenge the 23-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic, in the semifinals.

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Shelton, ranked 47th in the world and still in search of his first ATP Tour win, left it all on the court in what he described as an emotional battle. He expressed his gratitude to the passionate fans for their unwavering support during the late-night showdown. Speaking about the impending clash with Djokovic, Shelton acknowledged the enormity of the challenge, recognizing Djokovic’s remarkable record in Grand Slam tournaments.

Frances Tiafoe, the 10th seed, had thrilled the home crowd with his run to the semifinals last year and had been in impressive form, dropping only one set on his way to the quarterfinals. However, Shelton’s explosive groundstrokes and relentless aggression proved too much to handle in the opening set. Shelton claimed five consecutive games, leaving Tiafoe searching for answers.

Despite losing the first set, Tiafoe displayed composure and adapted to Shelton’s fierce forehand, leveling the match by taking the second set. The third set was a rollercoaster ride, marked by six breaks of serve, with both players trading blows. Ultimately, it was Shelton who prevailed in a tense tie-break, securing it 9-7.

Heading into the fourth set, Shelton seized the momentum, breaking Tiafoe early with a blistering backhand winner down the line. With another break at 5-2, Shelton sealed his victory, holding serve to secure his spot in the US Open semifinals.

As the tennis world eagerly anticipates the clash between Ben Shelton and Novak Djokovic, the young American has already etched his name in the annals of US Open history. The excitement continues to build as Shelton’s remarkable journey unfolds, and he prepares to take on one of the sport’s all-time greats. Tennis fans can expect nothing less than a riveting semifinal showdown at Flushing Meadows.