Shelton Wins Incredible Indian Wells Open Battle Against Superb Cerundolo

Shelton Wins Incredible Indian Wells Open Battle Against Superb Cerundolo

by Jordan Reynolds

Ben Shelton survived an enthralling match against Francisco Cerundolo to reach the last 16 at the Indian Wells Open.

The American has already made headlines on and off-court in recent days. Shelton defeated the teenager Jakub Mensik in the previous round, which was also an entertaining contest for the fans to enjoy.

In addition, Shelton said that he may snub playing in the Olympics. This would be a huge shock, since the Olympics is usually seen as one of the biggest events in tennis.

But the Olympics is not until July, with Shelton having much to focus on until then. The challenge of Cerundolo was always going to be a tough one for the 22-year-old to navigate.

The Argentine has a powerful game, with his forehand being one of the best in the sport when it is firing. However, some may still be surprised by just how close he came to beating Shelton.

Cerundolo was under constant pressure throughout the opening set. Shelton had four break points in the third game of the match but he was thwarted impressively by some composed hitting from his opponent.

The pressure did lead to Shelton breaking in the sixth game, which included one terrific reflex volley. But the crowd were then stunned when Shelton failed to serve out the set at 5-3, allowing Cerundolo to break.

It seemed like Shelton would then close out the set when he had four set points at 6-5. But once again, the Argentine proved he was up for the fight by saving all of them to take the set to a tiebreak.

Some superb baseline hitting from Shelton took him into a 6-3 lead, despite Cerundolo not playing a bad tiebreak at all. The American did not convert on his first two opportunities, but on his 7th set point, Shelton took the tiebreak 7-5 and the set 7-6.

However, this did not break Cerundolo's spirit. After constantly having to scrap out of tough positions in the opening set, he began to hold serve much more easily and pose a real threat to the 22-year-old.

A loose game from Shelton at 4-3 in the set gave Cerundolo the key break. Unlike Shelton in the first set, he served it out very comfortably to win the set 6-3 and force a decider.

Shelton was impeccable on serve in the third set, conceding no break points. But Cerundolo dominated most of the set from the baseline with his forehand and he also did not give any break point chances. It meant the match was decided by another tiebreak.

The intensity of the rallies only got better in the tiebreak. After several terrific exchanges, Shelton managed to crucially hit two unreturned serves to go 5-4 up. Another huge Cerundolo forehand then levelled it at 5-5.

Finally, Cerundolo's forehand did not deliver under pressure, with an unforced error making it 6-5. The Argentine then netted a backhand return to give Shelton a dramatic 7-6 3-6 7-6 victory.


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