Shelton Outplayed In His Second Match At Italian Open By Superb Zhang

Shelton Outplayed In His Second Match At Italian Open By Superb Zhang

by Zachary Wimer

Last updated

Ben Shelton didn't play a very good match against Zhizhen Zhang at the 2024 Italian Open, and he lost it in two sets.

Zhang is no stranger to clay tennis, because he managed to get some experience on it over the past few years. Shelton, for the most part, is still a stranger to clay tennis, which is easily spottable when watching him play.

He needs more time on the surface but he can be a very solid player in a few years. The trophy won in Houston this year proves that, but the courts at that event play a bit differently compared to typical red clay, which is in Rome.

Zhang was the favorite ahead of this match simply because of that familiarity. That certainly proved true in the opening set because the Chinese player comfortably outplayed the American, taking just eight games to do so.

It was 6-2 for the Chinese player, who dominated despite not serving well. He depends on his serve a lot, so it was very impressive to see him win so easily despite serving poorly.

He dominated from the baseline, hitting seven winners with only one unforced error. He tends to have these moments when he's completely unbeatable on the court and Shelton clearly had no idea on how to counter the Chinese player.

He didn't find a solution early in the second set either, as Zhang took another early break. Shelton stabilized a bit after that and actually threatened to break but couldn't quite convert the first break points he had.

Zhang still struggled with his serve early, and Shelton missed his window then because the Chinese player would find his serve later on. He finished off the match, winning 6-2, 6-4, which is a pretty good win for him. Shelton, on the other hand, needs more practice on the surface.


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