Tennis Prose



Ben Shelton Is Shooting Up The Rankings

By Scoop Malinowski

Ben Shelton first caught my eye about a year ago when he won the NCAA title with University of Florida, coached by his dad Bryan Shelton, a former ATP player and champion.

Ben Shelton is a dynamic lefthander, great fire and personality on the court and supreme athleticism. And most importantly, he wins big matches.

Yesterday in Atlanta second round, Shelton challenged six-time Atlanta champ John Isner and almost pulled off the miracle win before falling 67 64 67. Isner finally clinched the hard fought win on a marathon point capped by a forehand volley winner but his reaction after was more of relief and awe that he survived this young 19 year old tornado who is currently ranked 281 in the world. Isner’s body language after the win was not one with any celebration gestures but more of shock and respect for the quality of tennis played by the newcomer.

Shelton is rising fast. This year he has beaten some impressive names. In Indianapolis he beat Max Purcell and Tim van Rijthoven. In Rome he made the final losing to Yibing Wu.

At Little Rock he beat Christian Harrison and Emilio Gomez.

In May, Shelton was ranked 547.

Another good sign for Shelton’s progress is he can figure players out. He lost to Australian Rinky Hijikata 36 67 in Orlando first round and then a month later in Indianapolis first round he avenged Hijikata 63 64.

Last year Shelton also posted some interesting results. He beat Gijs Brouwer in the Champaign ITF final 76 63.

At US Open qualies as a wildcard, Shelton beat Michael Mmoh 76 76 and then lost to Botic van de Zandschulp 63 57 46.

Shelton’s progression is stunning and he’s proven already he’s not intimidated by the ATP World Tour and the big name players. He has the uncanny talent to play the ball with no fear, regardless of who the adversary is.

Though Shelton has only won one ATP main tour main draw match so far (Atlanta first round vs Rankumar Ramanathan 62 75), it’s just a matter of time before plenty more wins are notched on his belt.

One of the unique quirks of American tennis is how few successful lefthanders are produced by the junior system… John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Donald Young, Jeff Tarango, Bob Bryan and Roscoe Tanner come to mind.

Ben Shelton is well on his way to adding his name to that short list – and establishing himself as yet another young American who certainly has the attributes and skills to be a top 50 player, or much better.

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