Shelton Denied Exciting Djokovic Clash By Inspired Mannarino At Australian Open

Shelton Denied Exciting Djokovic Clash By Inspired Mannarino At Australian Open

by Erik Virostko

Ben Shelton was bested in the third round of the 2024 Australian Open by a very solid Adrian Mannarino.

After the American, and current world no. 1 Novak Djokovic were drawn into the same part of the draw, the goal for both of them was clear - win three matches and get into the fourth round.

Obviously, both wanted to go much further, but a rematch of their 2023 US Open semifinal is something that many fans anticipated and probably even the two wanted to repeat in Melbourne.

Djokovic then added fuel to the fire when he commented on their US Open spat again, but Shelton responded to the comments calmly, as he probably wanted to respond in front of the packed Rod Laver Arena on the tennis court.

However, he won't get a chance to do that. After beating Roberto Bautista Agut, and then also overcoming Christopher O'Connell, he met Adrian Mannarino, who bested Stan Wawrinka and Jaume Munar in the first two rounds, both in five sets.

And the French player started well also against the 21-year-old. He broke him first in the opening set, and even though he got a quick response, when the set reached a tie-break, Mannarino was the better player, winning it 7-4.

But the American is a very motivated individual, and he wanted to prove that he deserves a spot in the fourth round. In the second set, he completely outplayed his opponent, creating break points on each one of his serves, while losing only two points on his own serve.

Thanks to breaking the 20th seed three times, Shelton won the set easily 6-1, but unfortunately for him and his fans, it was the best set of tennis that he played on Friday night.

He still managed to win the third set, which got into the tie-break after both players were up by a break in certain moments of the set, and the American handled the tie-break perfectly, winning it 7-2.

But in the fourth set, he was outplayed after not using a chance to break in the opening set. Mannarino was just too solid, and he used his chances, winning the fourth set 6-3 to send the match into the decider.

And after that, a rollercoaster fifth set followed. Shelton was a shadow of himself on serve, as Mannarino managed to win plenty of rallies after his first serve, and in each one of his first four service games, the American faced break points.

He was broken on two occasions, and he was down already by two breaks at 2-5. That's when he started playing some inspired tennis, increasing the risk to maximum, but it paid of as he kept hitting all of the corners of the court.

Shelton even saved a match point and recovered one of the breaks, and at 5-4, he forced the Frenchman to serve for the match again. With French and American fans clashing with their chants at Kia Arena, the atmosphere was perfect.

But despite doing his best, Shelton couldn't erase the second break, as Mannarino won the match 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4, and it will be the Frenchman who will take on Novak Djokovic in the fourth round of the tournament.

Adrian Mannarino vs Ben Shelton Match Stats:

Adrian Mannarino Ben Shelton
9 Aces 18
8 Double Faults 4
65% First Serve % 72%
63% (77/123) Points Won After First Serve % 67% (86/128)
55% (36/66) Points Won After Second Serve % 48% (24/50)
35% (6/17) Break Point Conversion 37% (7/19)
49 Winners 73
39 Unforced Errors 74


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