Shelton Exits Miami Open After Being Shocked By Brilliant Musetti

Shelton Exits Miami Open After Being Shocked By Brilliant Musetti

by Jordan Reynolds

Ben Shelton is out of the Miami Open after falling to an inspired Lorenzo Musetti at the Masters 1000 event.

Shelton has become one of the most entertaining and watchable players on the ATP Tour in the last 12 months. This was after a breakthrough 2023, which saw the 21 year old reach the US Open semifinal.

It took some time for the American to complete his first match in Miami. Shelton progressed after several rain delays, with the weather impacting many of the matches on Friday and Saturday at the tournament.

Musetti entered the contest as the underdog. He has mostly struggled for many months, including being humbled by Holger Rune in Indian Wells. But what transpired left the home crowd shocked.

Musetti was the better player from the start of the opening set. He served superbly, and his one-handed backahnd, which is so often a weakness for him, was imposing from the first game of the match.

The damage was done when Shelton played a very loose service game at 2-2. He could not afford that with Musetti playing so well and he was duly broken to love. Shelton saved a break point in his next service game but it did not matter. Musetti deservedly took the opening set 6-4.

The American was much better at the beginning of the second set. He cut down on the unforced errors and also benefited from a momentary lapse in Musetti's level. Shelton broke and led the set 4-1 at one stage.

Yet, Musetti responded strongly to break back. The Italian then piled on the pressure in Shelton's next two service games, including hitting one of the shots of the year with an outrageous backhand passing shot on the run. But Shelton saved five break points to hang on to his serve.

In the end, Musetti got his reward for being the better player throughout most of the match. Shelton won three points in a row in the tiebreak to lead 5-4, with the crowd making huge noise to back the American.

But the Italian held his nerve brilliantly. He won three points in a row to claim victory, with Shelton netting a routine forehand on match point at 6-5. The final score was 6-4 7-6 in favour of Musetti.


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