Shelton defeats Shapovalov in third consecutive five-setter to reach first round of 16 at Wimbledon

Ben Shelton defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Saturday and will face Italian Jannik Sinner, the top seed, in the next round

Ben Shelton, Auckland 2024 Ben Shelton, Auckland 2024 – © Photosport / Panoramic
Wimbledon •Third round • completed
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Three matches. Three five-setters. 15 sets have come and gone for 14th-seeded American Ben Shelton and the former Florida Gator is still standing at Wimbledon. He outlasted Canada’s Denis Shapovalov on Saturday, finishing off a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to set a clash with world No 1 Jannik Sinner in the round of 16.

“I’m happy with where I’ve gotten so far but I’m definitely not satisfied,” Shelton told the crowd. “I think the pinnacle of tennis is is facing the No 1 in the world at Wimbledon, probably on Centre Court, so I’m very excited and ready to get after it.”

Shelton, who had never been past the second round at Wimbledon prior to this week, has come through three grueling matches and spent 10 hours and 23 minutes on court to get to the round of 16.

His win over Shapovalov, which commenced on Friday and was held over due to rain in the first set, was moved to No 1 Court on Saturday. Shelton earned five breaks of serve against Shapovalov and surrendered only one himself, but he was made to work by the former semi-finalist, who captured the fourth set to force Shelton to another decider.

But indefatigable Shelton was up to the task. He never faced a break point and ran away with the decider behind two breaks of serve to clinch his victory in three hours and five minutes.

How is he finding the energy to get through these marathon matches?

“I think it was nice to have a little rain yesterday to give me another day’s rest,” he said. “Just happy to be out here competing. It’s Wimbledon, there’s nowhere better in the world to be playing tennis, so it’s hard to be tired when you’re out here.”

“We’re back!”

30 years after his father and coach, Bryan Shelton, reached the round of 16, his son has achieved the same feat. Shelton was asked what it meant, and just looked at his father before saying:

“We’re back, big dog.”

Shelton and Sinner have played three times, with Sinner taking the last two meetings. The pair have never met on grass.

The 21-year-old American won against Italian qualifier Mattia Bellucci (4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4) and South African qualifier Lloyd Harris (4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (7)) ahead of his victory.

In the previous rounds of The Championships, Shapovalov, ranked No 121, beat Chilean Nicolas Jarry, the No 19 seed (6-1, 7-5, 6-4) and German Daniel Altmaier (7-6 (3), 6-3, 1-6, 6-7 (3), 6-4).

London (Grand Slam), other third-round results (All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, grass, GBP 50.000.000, most recent results first):

  • Alexei Popyrin vs. Novak Djokovic
  • Taylor Fritz vs. Alejandro Tabilo
  • Jan-Lennard Struff vs. Daniil Medvedev
  • Holger Rune vs. Quentin Halys
  • Francisco Comesana vs. Lorenzo Musetti: saturday
  • Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Fabio Fognini: saturday
  • Cameron Norrie vs. Alexander Zverev: saturday
  • Arthur Fils vs. Roman Safiullin: saturday
  • Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard vs. Emil Ruusuvuori: saturday
  • Ugo Humbert (16) beat Brandon Nakashima: 7-6 (9), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6)
  • Lucas Pouille vs. Alex De Minaur
  • Jannik Sinner beat Miomir Kecmanovic: 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
  • Grigor Dimitrov (10) beat Gael Monfils: 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
  • Carlos Alcaraz (3) beat Frances Tiafoe (29): 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2
  • Tommy Paul (12) beat Alexander Bublik (23): 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

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