Shelton Outplays Defending Champion Tiafoe To Win Maiden Clay Title In Houston

Shelton Outplays Defending Champion Tiafoe To Win Maiden Clay Title In Houston

by Zachary Wimer

Ben Shelton is the champion of the 2024 Houston Open after beating defending champion Frances Tiafoe in the final.

The final match in Houston was expected to be a close matchup, and it was, as the final match of the ATP 250 tournament went to three sets. Shelton ended up as the winner, adding another win over his compatriot.

Tiafoe hasn't been the same player since his friend defeated him at last year's US Open, and he has now added an insult to the injury. His tennis suffered, his level dropped, and he didn't look like himself for a while.

This week in Houston, he looked like the Tiafoe of old for the first time in a while. Besides his form, Shelton's matchup advantage certainly contributed to most people backing him to win this match.

Due to the way both players and the courts play, it was expected that this would end up being a close match where serves dominated. That's exactly what happened in the first set, with Shelton dropping only one point behind his first serve and not allowing a single break point.

Tiafoe wasn't as sharp on his own serve and he would get ultimately broken, as the younger of the two won the first set 7-5. The second set was a bit different, as Shelton played a really bad service game early, and he got broken.

That's all Tiafoe needed as he cruised to the finish line comfortably after that, winning the second set 6-4 to force the decider. He didn't allow a single break point in the second set, and that was the key.

It really came down to the serve, and after surviving some early pressure from Tiafoe in the final set, Shelton broke his opponent's serve and never looked back.

He cruised easily after that, finishing the match with the final score of 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to win the 2024 Houston Open. What's special about this trophy run is that he's the second Shelton to win the event after his dad, who did it exactly 32 years ago.


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