Shelton Wins Incredible Battle in Acapulco On His Fifth Match Point

Shelton Wins Incredible Battle in Acapulco On His Fifth Match Point

by Jordan Reynolds

Ben Shelton is through to the next round of the ATP 500 event in Acapulco after dramatically beating Daniel Evans, despite wasting four match points.

The American's matches are now always among the most highly anticipated at each event he plays. This is due to his explosive playing style and his sudden surge in the rankings in 2023, which included reaching the US Open semifinal.

Although Shelton has said he is not focused on the points he has to defend, the new wave of expectations are certainly something he will have noticed. Living up to what many tennis fans now expect of him is not easy.

Evans is a tricky matchup for any player. The Brit retrieves a lot of balls with his movement, and on the slow courts in Acapulco, he posed a difficult barrier to Shelton's powerful serving and baseline hitting.

Nonetheless, many will still be surprised by how close Evans came to beating the 21-year-old. It was a real battle, and one that demonstrated the growing ability of Shelton to fight through hard matches.

Shelton did not look comfortable from the beginning of the first set. Although he held his opening two service games, Evans was reading his serve well, and the American was also making errors from the baseline.

Evans made that advantage count in the following four games from 2-2. He broke the usually formidable Shelton serve twice and held his own service games easily to take the opening set 6-2.

Shelton became more solid in the second set, but Evans was still keeping up well. Despite hitting just one winner in the entire second set, he dug in and was making the US Open semifinalist work incredibly hard to win points.

That changed in the 12th game of the set. For the first time, Evans became slightly loose with his shots and gave his opponent a chance to break. Shelton duly obliged, and took the second set 7-5.

Both players held serve for the first nine games. The drama then began at 5-4 to Shelton. The American went 0-40 up and had three match points. But Evans saved all three, including an outstanding forehand down the line at 30-40, and managed to hold.

Shelton still seemed to be effected by those chances in his following service game. He was broken to love after a series of errors, leaving Evans with a chance to serve for the match.

However, this enthralling battle did not end there. Evans missed a couple of routine shots at the net to help Shelton break back, meaning a tiebreak was needed to decide the winner.

Evans saved another match point in the tiebreak, but Shelton, who is one of the ATP's carbon leader trackers, was not denied on his fifth match point. He won the tiebreak 7-5, and sealed a dramatic 2-6 7-5 7-6 triumph.


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