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Tommy Paul defeats Ben Shelton to become the first American man to reach the Australian Open semi-final since 2009
Tommy Paul prevailed in the first all-American quarter-final at a Grand Slam since 2007, defeating Ben Shelton to reach the semis.
During the first week of the Australian Open Americans set the tone on the men’s side by pushing eight different player through to the third round. Of those eight, 25-year-old Tommy Paul is the last one standing.
The 35th-ranked American came through the first all-American Grand Slam quarter-final in 16 years, topping 20-year-old sensation Ben Shelton, 7-6(6) 6-3 5-7 6-4, to reach his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in his 15th major appearance.
“Making it to the second weekend of a Slam that’s everyone’s dream when they start playing tennis,” Paul told the crowd. “I can’t believe I’m here right now.”
Paul will face either nine-time champion Novak Djokovic or Andrey Rublev, who meet in tonight’s final quarter-final in Rod Laver Arena, in the semis.
He had to battle through the explosive serve and aggressive game of Shelton, a former NCAA singles champion who was making just his second appearance at a Grand Slam and his first trip out of the country for tennis.
Paul got the job done in three hours and six minutes, after Shelton rallied from a break down to snag the third set. Shelton hit 24 aces and 42 winners on the day, showing why he is a player with a lot of upside.
“I think everyone should be excited for that kid” – Paul on Shelton
“Really happy to get through that match,” Paul said. “There wasn’t too much rhythm in the match, but Ben’s a very tough player to play against and he’s going to be in many more matches like this, so I think everyone should be really excited for that kid.”
Paul was composed and efficient throughout the match. He hit seven aces, 43 winners, and committed just 26 unforced errors (compared to 50 for Shelton). He converted three of 15 break points and saved two of four.
Paul and Shelton are two of ten Americans that will rank inside the top-50 after this year’s Australian Open. The three Americans that reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne (also Sebastian Korda) were the most at the Australian Open since 2000, when Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Chris Woodruff represented USA.
“It’s not just exciting for the American fans,” Pauls said. “I think it’s exciting for fans all around the world. And for us too. I’m really excited for Ben I’m excited for all the players that are coming up. [Frances Tiafoe] made semi-finals at the US Open and now I made semi-finals here. So we definitely have a good crop coming up and I’m really excited.”