On Wednesday morning, Ben Shelton achieved a surprising victory against his fellow American and the tenth-ranked player in the world, Frances Tiafoe, in the quarterfinals of the US Open.
At the New York US Open, two Black American men faced off in the quarterfinals for the first time ever. The 20-year-old Shelton emerged victorious with a 6-2 3-6 7-6(7) 6-2 score, defeating last year’s runner-up.
Shelton, the youngest male American to reach the semifinals of the US Open since Michael Chang in 1992 at the age of 20, will face off against 23-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic on Friday.
“I believe I gave my all tonight. It was an intense emotional struggle,” Shelton expressed after the game. “I want to thank everyone for staying until late. The atmosphere was incredible and your support helped me cross the finish line.”
Shelton shared during the third-set tiebreaker that there are moments when you need to quiet your mind, close your eyes, and take a leap of faith. Perhaps this was the case when he was facing a set point, but in the end, it paid off.
After winning the championship, Shelton, the 2022 NCAA singles champion, will rise from No. 47 to the top 20 in the men’s world singles ranking.
Shelton was inquired about his next opponent.
Shelton mentioned that Djokovic has won approximately 23 of these events. This is an impressive accomplishment. The past two matches have been challenging for me, as I have been competing against American players. I hope you all will support me in my upcoming match in two nights.