UTS Los Angeles: Shelton and Bublik thrill LA crowd with comebacks and trick shots as American wins

Ben Shelton has delivered on Day 1 of UTS Los Angeles, thrilling the LA crowd with his shot making as he defeated Alexander Bublik 3-1.

Ben Shelton, Alexander Bublik, UTS Los Angeles 2023 Ben Shelton and Alexander Bublik, at UTS 2023 in Los Angeles (Tennis Majors)

Ben “The Mountain” Shelton defeated Alexander “The Bublik Enemy” Bublik 3-1 in the second game of the day at UTS Los Angeles today. Making his UTS debut, it was abundantly clear that Shelton is perfectly made for this style of play, thrilling the crowd with some outrageous shot play and oozing energy.

Both players burst out of the blocks in the first quarter, just at different times. The Bublik Enemy raced out to a seemingly unassailable 11-3 lead, playing his bonus card perfectly to earn three points from one to reinforce his advantage.

From that point, The Mountain stormed back into contention, winning eight points straight to level the match 11-11.

But the drama wasn’t over. At 14-13, The Bublik Enemy had a smash right above the net, which he belted into Shelton, only for The Mountain to react in lightening-quick time to return the ball into an open court.

Trash talk between quarters between Shelton and Bublik

Between quarters, the trash talk was on.

Bublik posited that perhaps the crowd weren’t cheering for Shelton, and when asked his thoughts on the Kazakh’s comments, The Mountain replied, “Oh, I couldn’t hear him, over the crowd cheering for me.”

In the second quarter, it was another tight affair, with points traded back and forth. That is, until The Mountain tactfully played his bonus card at 9-8, winning the exchange to go up 12-8.

From here, Shelton raced out to 16-9 by the end of the quarter, eventually winning the quarter point after several failed attempts at 17-14, and narrowly escaping Bublik’s attempt at creating his own rules, when he tried to play a bonus card on quarter point before being overruled by the umpire.

Ben Shelton (UTS)

With the quarters tied up at 1-1 each, Ben Shelton put his foot on the throat of Alexander Bublik, playing some fearless tennis to go up 10-3 in the third. Bublik played his bonus card at 10-4 on the return, winning the point to close the gap to 10-7, which quickly became 10-9.

Bublik turns it on with once-in-a-lifetime shot

Turning point of the quarter came at 11-11 however, when The Mountain returned a serve virtually sitting down with a flat racquet in front of his face, peeling away for a return winner. The next point, Shelton entered the mind of Bublik, playing his bonus card and racing up to the serve box to return, causing his opponent to fault.

It wasn’t until quarter point that The Bublik Enemy turned on his best shot of the day, ripping an incredible round-the-post shot from his ankles to stun Shelton. So impressed was the American, that he walked over to Bublik’s side of the net and shook his hand.

The Mountain had what it took to finish the quarter, however, going up 2-1.

Between quarters, Shelton said of Bublik’s shot, “One of the greatest shots I’ve ever seen— full stretch, inches off the ground.”

Shelton seals the deal with a quarter to spare

Heading into the fourth quarter, it was do or die for Alexander Bublik.

Unfortunately, it ended up being die, despite his best efforts. While Bublik did strike several aces and underarm serves in an attempt to throw Shelton off his game, it was the American who had found his flow perfectly. Engaging the crowd between points, The Mountain ran through the quarter 19-10 by the time it came to quarter point, which he won on his first attempt.

The highlight of the quarter had to be a dramatic rally that saw side to side action, a Bublik tweener, before Shelton won the point, causing Bublik to smash his racquet and toss it into the crowd.

“I think it’s pretty cool, it’s a lot of fun out here, felt like a college tennis atmosphere,” declared Shelton after the victory. “I think we can take it up a level though!”

People in this post

Your comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *