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Shelton Steals The Big Foe Show At US Open

Last night was supposed to be the Big Foe Show on Arthur Ashe Stadium at US Open. Even the Harvard expert James Blake, in his pre-match analysis, expected veteran and top ten ace Frances Tiafoe to give a lesson to the 20 year old upstart Ben Shelton.

But somebody forget to give the memo to Shelton, who rose to the occasion and performed one of the most electrifying, dynamic matches in recent Arthur Ashe Stadium memory in eliminating his countryman in four sets 62 36 76 62.

Shelton was sensational and spectacular last night in every aspect of the performance. Lights out hitting. Monster serving. Court generalship and crowd control not unlike legendary grandmaster Jimmy Connors. Shelton was so impressive that he strangely seemed to transform the extroverted 2022 semifinalist Tiafoe into an introvert last night.

Tiafoe, like the rest of us, were in awe by how Shelton was playing and graduating to a Grand Slam hero right before our eyes.

The key moment of the duel was in the third set tiebreaker. Shelton, wearing a black and pink sleeveless outfit by On, earned two set points at 6-4 but suddenly stiffened and at 6-5 and committed consecutive double faults to gift Tiafoe with a set point. Tiafoe missed his first serve and then Shelton unexpectedly smashed the second-serve with a brutal forehand return down the line into the corner of the court. Tiafoe didn’t move a step for it. A Tiafoe error and then a backhand long scored the third set for Shelton and then he rolled from there. He lost just four points on serve in the fourth and final set.

“Sometimes you have to shut off the brain, close the eyes and just swing,” Shelton said of his agony to ecstasy moments in the third set tiebreaker. “Maybe there was a little bit of that down set point, but it ended up working out.”

The sky is the limit for this new kid on the block, natural-born, self-made Thriller. A new American star has emerged. And the tennis world anticipates with excitement and curiosity to see the additional displays of tennis magic this young wizard will create in the future.

Shelton will now face Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. “It doesn’t get much better than that,” Shelton said of the looming showdown with Djokovic. “It’s been tough the last two matches, playing against Americans (Tommy Paul, Tiafoe), but hopefully you guys can bring it for me two days from now.”

Djokovic vs Shelton has a possible Apollo Creed vs. Rocky Balboa 1 angle. It will be the 47th Grand Slam semifinal for 23-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic and first for Shelton.

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