Ben Shelton Secures Top 20 Breakthrough With US Open Semifinal Run

Ben Shelton Secures Top 20 Breakthrough With US Open Semifinal Run

by Nurein Ahmed

American rising star Ben Shelton will crown his maiden US Open semifinal run with a place in the world's Top 20 for the very first time.

Shelton stunned compatriot and 10th seed Frances Tiafoe 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 in front of an exuberant home crowd on Tuesday night to set up a semifinal date against second seed Novak Djokovic. While Shelton will be contesting his first, Djokovic will be grace the courts for a record-breaking 47th major semifinal.

The 20-year-old is playing in his first full season on the ATP Tour, and not even in his wildest dreams could he have scripted this fairytale. Shelton has now become the youngest American man to reach the US Open semifinal in 30 years.

At this time last year, Shelton was ranked outside the world's Top 150, but regardless of Thursday's outcome against Djokovic, Shelton is guaranteed to break into the world's Top 20 for the first time. Even in a year when two of its most coveted veterans from the past decade have retired (Jack Sock and John Isner), a new crop of talent is emerging.

American men's tennis is very much on the rise and there'll be four names from the USA in the Top 20 of the ATP rankings next week. Shelton also boosts his chances of qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals, occupying third spot.

The Atlanta native spoke after the match like a man clearly soaking in the moment but was happy with the trajectory of men's tennis in the USA. He admits that he's trying to stay present at the moment and block out any outside noise.

"Yeah, it's pretty cool for me to be a part of it. I love to see American tennis going in a great direction, and tennis in general going in a great direction."

"You know, it's weird, but I feel like I've done a pretty good job of blocking out everything that's going on around me when I need to, and I've stayed in the moment and focused on the tennis. It's like when that point is playing, I don't hear anything, I don't see anything. I'm just practicing in a park."


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