Shelton Shockingly Loses His First Match Of 2024 Season In Brisbane

Shelton Shockingly Loses His First Match Of 2024 Season In Brisbane

by Erik Virostko

Ben Shelton has some big results to back up in 2024, but he lost his first match at the Brisbane International, as he was overpowered by Roman Safiullin.

The Russian managed to beat Carlos Alcaraz last year, and he was one of the dark horses at many tournaments that he entered, and the same applied to the first ATP 250 tournament of the year.

Regardless, the third-seeded Shelton was the favorite, as he played the Australian Open quarterfinals and the US Open semifinals in 2023, but he couldn't enter the New Year on a winning foot.

The first set of the match was a real fight. First, Safiullin had a break point, before the American had three consecutive break points in the fifth game of the opening set.

However, he couldn't use any of his chances, and after that, the Russian created four break point chances in the eighth game of the first set, and after confirming it with a hold, he won the first set 6-3.

Shelton then faced a break point immediately in the first game of the second set, but after he saved it, fans in Brisbane saw a break point-less second set, and as a result, it had to be decided in a tie-break.

Once again, the American started on the back foot, losing the first game of the tie-break, but turned it around to win the tie-break 7-5 and force a decider.

But unused chances would prove to be too costly for Shelton in the third set. He was the first player to have two break points, but he didn't use them and allowed his opponent to challenge his serve.

Although Safiullin didn't break on his first chance, he created three more break points in the eighth game of the third set, and after using those, he won the match 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 to reach the second round of the tournament in which he'll take on Alexei Popyrin.


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