Ben Shelton-]
Ben Shelton, of the United States, reacts during a match against Frances Tiafoe, of the United States, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Ben Shelton Faces Toughest Test Against Novak Djokovic in US Open Semifinal

One of the most experienced players in the men’s draw and one of the least experienced will go head-to-head in the semifinals of the US Open Friday. Novak Djokovic and Ben Shelton face off at 3 p.m. with Shelton looking to pull of a major upset. Djokovic, ranked No. 2 on the ATP Tour, boasts a phenomenal 23 Grand Slam titles dating back to 2008. He is the current all-time leader for most Grand Slam men’s singles titles in history.

Shelton, ranked 47th on the ATP Tour and former Florida Gator, only played his first major at the 2023 Australian Open. He won the 2022 NCAA’s Men Singles Championship at Florida and made the decision to go pro a year ago. Since then, he reached the Australian Open quarterfinals before losing to Tommy Paul.

Moving into the US Open, Shelton has pulled off numerous upsets en-route to the semifinals.

Strong Performance Against Tiafoe

Shelton upset his last opponent, Francis Tiafoe, with quality returns and quick serves. The first two sets were anti-climatic. However, the match heated up in the third set. As the set headed towards a tiebreaker with Shelton appearing to be on top, the young player served back-to-back double faults. Fans then thought the match swung back in favor of Tiafoe. However, Shelton responded by winning the set, and won the next to advance.

Shelton’s quarterfinal win over Tiafoe made him the youngest American man to reach the US Open Semifinals since 1992.

Moving into the anticipated matchup between the former Gator and Djokovic, Shelton talked about his excitement about reaching the semifinals.

Shelton’s excitement shines when talking about meeting Djokovic for the first time in competition. He views his match with optimism and hopes to be disruptive Friday.

If you look solely at these two backgrounds, you would view Djokovic as the clear favorite. However, Shelton offers a breath of new air and comes in with excitement toward the sport. In a situation like this, it’s hard not to want the underdog to succeed.

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