Shelton Closes Up On Djokovic Clash With Another Win At Australian Open

Shelton Closes Up On Djokovic Clash With Another Win At Australian Open

by Zachary Wimer

Ben Shelton played great tennis last year at the Australian Open, and he's heating up slowly this year as well, making the third round already.

When the American arrived in Melbourne last year, nobody really knew who he was. Some dedicated tennis fans noticed his rise late last year on the ATP Challenger level in the United States, but for the most part, he was an unknown player.

It didn't take him long to leave a strong impression as he made the second week in his maiden Grand Slam outside of the United States. Much of what he did came down to the serve, which was a rocket, but over the next months, Shelton would develop an all-around game with the serve still the primary weapon.

He would work his way into the Top 20 thanks to a tremendous run at the US Open. He would win a trophy in Japan as well, and now he's back where it all started.

And he's looking good again. Taking on native player Christopher O'Connell is not an easy thing to do, but he overcame it as he usually does.

The opening set was pretty close as both played kind of well, but Shelton just had that serve to push him past the Australian, 6-4. The second one was the best one Shelton played as he crushed his opponent 6-1.

There was just nothing O'Connell could do in this one. He did play a pretty strong third set, though, much of that was due to the American just not being as strong as before.

He didn't serve as well and certainly misfired from the baseline enough to give O'Connell some confidence, and he took the set, 6-3. The fourth set was a pretty interesting one, as it proved to be the last one in the match.

O'Connell had a break midway through but lost it, with the set ending up in a tie-break. Shelton proved better, converting his fifth match point of the day to win it in four. The final score was 6-4, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5) for the American, who needs to win one more match to possibly challenge Novak Djokovic.

Ben Shelton vs Christopher O'Connell Match Stats:

Ben Shelton Christopher O'Connell
17 Aces 9
4 Double Faults 1
67% First Serve % 59%
74% (56/76) Points Won After First Serve % 80% (63/79)
63% (24/38) Points Won After Second Serve % 31% (17/54)
36% (4/11) Break Point Conversion 40% (2/5)
51 Winners 31
43 Unforced Errors 27


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