Sinner Wins Shelton Blockbuster In Indian Wells After Outstanding Opening Set

Sinner Wins Shelton Blockbuster In Indian Wells After Outstanding Opening Set

by Jordan Reynolds

Jannik Sinner showed his world-class credentials by surviving an onslaught in the first-set from Ben Shelton to advance to the Indian Wells Open quarterfinal.

The Australian Open champion has enjoyed an amazing start to the season. Sinner's win against Jan-Lennard Struff in the last round meant he was unbeaten heading into this contest.

His American opponent had to work much harder to set up this meeting. Shelton overcame Francisco Cerundolo in a thriller, which he won in dramatic fashion in a final-set tiebreak.

There was much anticipation surrounding this match. Both players are two of the most watchable in tennis, and the stadium on Court 1 was packed from the start in expectation of a great match.

The first set delivered on that want, but Shelton then could not keep up with the Grand Slam champion's high level in the second set.

A clearly fired-up Shelton struck the ball imposingly from the start of the match. He created four break points in the fourth game but could not convert them, including missing a routine forehand in the forecourt on the third opportunity.

Sinner made Shelton pay in the next game when Shelton double-faulted to give him the break. Both players continued to play many mesmerizing points throughout the set, but it seemed like the Italian would come through unbroken when he served for it at 5-4.

However, Shelton got some good fortune with a net cord at set point to Sinner, and he then capitalized to break. Two service holds took the enthralling opening set into a tiebreak.

Sinner went up 4-1 with two mini breaks, but it appeared like he may throw away his advantage again when he lost two points in a row on serve, including a double fault. The crowd got even louder and believed Shelton could steal the set.

Unfortunately for them, that did not happen. Shelton made an unforced error on his serve, and this time, Sinner did take advantage to take the tiebreak 7-4 and the opening set 7-6.

The Italian dominated the contest in ruthless fashion after that. He broke Shelton in the second game of the next set, with the 21-year-old looking understandably disheartened after losing such a close first set.

Shelton was struggling far more than normal on serve. He saved a break point to get on the scoreboard in his next service game, but more unforced errors from his racket led to him being broken again to make it 5-1.

Sinner served the match out at the first time of asking to claim a 7-6 6-1 victory. This superb triumph means he is still unbeaten in 2024.


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