Tommy Paul, left, of the U.S. is congratulated by compatriot Ben Shelton following their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Shelton’s Australian Open Run Ends

Before traveling to prepare for the Australian Open, Ben Shelton had never been outside of the U.S.

His first time abroad came with great success for the Atlanta native.

After an unexpected run to the quarterfinal, Ben Shelton’s time in Australia has come to a close. The 20-year-old was defeated by Tommy Paul in four sets 6-7 (6), 3-6, 7-5, 4-6.

Leading Up to the Australian Open

Shortly after capturing the 2022 NCAA Men’s singles title, Shelton burst onto the ATP Challenger scene.

He had a series of impressive runs in Arkansas, Rome and Chicago. Shelton grabbed his first signature wins in the Cincinnati Masters. He defeated No. 56 Lorenzo Sonego and current world No. 3 Casper Ruud.

Main Draw

The son of current Gators men’s tennis head coach, Bryan Shelton, didn’t disappoint in his second major main draw appearance.  The former Gator opened in Australia with a thrilling five set victory, defeating China’s Zhang Zhizhen 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (4).

With a lot to play for, Shelton remained hungry. He reeled off consecutive straight set victories over formidable opponents, defeating Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (3), 7-7 (3), 7-5 to advance to the third round.

Shortly after, Shelton took down Australia native Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-4 to set up a match with fellow countrymen J.J. Wolf.

Australian Open: Round of 16 and Quarterfinal

Wolf had some impressive wins of his own on his way to meet Shelton. The former Buckeye defeated world No. 26 Diego Schwartzman in the second round before beating American Michael Mmoh in the third.

The pair battled until 3 a.m. in the United States. After a back-and-forth affair, Shelton came out on top in five long sets 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Paul boasted an impressive tournament coming into the match as well.

The 25-year-old defeated two ranked Spaniards, No.24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 30 seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, en route to his first major semi-final.

Unseeded Paul defeated Shelton to become the first American man to reach the Australian Open semi-final since Andy Roddick in 2009.

Shelton’s Future

Already ranked inside the top 100, Shelton will shoot up the rankings after his performance in Australia. With the ATP season now underway, Shelton will have the opportunity to play in any tournament he wants.

The former Gator men’s tennis star will become a familiar face in pro tennis for years to come.

About Jake Bower

Sophomore journalism major at the University of Florida.

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