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Who is Ben Shelton? Tennis star advances to semi-finals of US Open

Shelton faces Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals after beating Frances Tiafoe in the last eight.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 05: Ben Shelton of the United States celebrates after defeating Frances Tiafoe of the United States during their Men's Singles Quarterfinal match on Day Nine of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 05, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.   Elsa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Ben Shelton beat Frances Tiafoe (6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2) to become the youngest American to reach the US Open semi-finals in three decades.

In 1992, Michael Chang shone at the age of 20, before being defeated by Sweden’s Stefan Edberg in the longest battle in US Open history: 5 hours and 26 minutes.

“Feeling like I left it all out here tonight,” said the 20-year-old after seeing off Tiafoe.

“Emotional battle and thanks all you guys for staying so late. Hell of an atmosphere. Thanks for pushing me over the line.”

Ben Shelton returns a shot against Frances Tiafoe during their Men's singles quarterfinal match on day nine of the 2023 US Open.
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Ben Shelton returns a shot against Frances Tiafoe during their Men's singles quarterfinal match on day nine of the 2023 US Open.SARAH STIERAFP

Possesses huge serve

Shelton, born in 2002, is currently ranked 47th in the world. To seal his place in the US Open quarter-final, he beat compatriot Tommy Paul in four sets in the fourth round, hitting two serves at 149mph.

The 6ft 4in big hitter turned pro in 2022 and is coached by his father, Bryan Shelton. He currently resides in Gainesville, Florida and graduated from Buchholz High School.

McEnroe praise

Shelton broke through at the Australian Open earlier this year when he reached the last eight, and victory on Sunday would see him break into the top 30 of the ATP rankings for the first time.

Tennis legend John McEnroe believes the Georgia-born player has more potential than any other American currently on the ATP Tour.

“The serve is amazing,” he told Eurosport. “He’s a great kid, he looks to be in really good shape. He’s finally come around, he’s doing his thing.

Next up, Novak

“Sometimes you have to turn off your brain, close your eyes and just hit,” said Novak Djokovic after progressing to the last four, where he will take on a fired-up Shelton.

“I’ve played on this court for many years, many epic matches. I’m looking forward to the next one,” he added.

The Serb will play his 100th match in New York on Friday and has a record of 86 wins and 13 losses so far, an 86.8 per cent success rate. Only Pete Sampras, with 88.7%, has a better rate.

“He (Djokovic) has won 23 of these (Grand Slams), it doesn’t get much better than that,” said Shelton.

“It’s been tough the last two matches, I’ve been playing Americans but hopefully you guys bring it for me two nights in a row.”

“You gotta fight, for your right, to paaaaarty!”.