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Ben Shelton Masters a Tricky Fifth Set on the Australian Open. Holger Rune Does Not.


He has hired Daniel Pohl, the German fitness trainer who has worked with Naomi Osaka. Shelton was smart on Monday: toning down his natural exuberance early against Wolf to save lots of fuel; dominating the fourth-set tiebreaker; jumping out to a fast lead within the fifth set; after which constructing on it to win, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2.

The 12 months’s first Grand Slam event runs from Jan. 16 to Jan. 29 in Melbourne.

Wolf, 24, never broke Shelton’s serve in five sets, getting only two break points. Now Shelton will play in one other all-American match against Tommy Paul, 25, in the primary Grand Slam quarterfinal for each. Paul, already a longtime threat on the tour with victories over Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, advanced with a victory, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, over the No. 24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain.

With Sebastian Korda already within the quarterfinals, there are three American men among the many final eight in Australia for the primary time since 2000 when Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and the much lesser-known Chris Woodruff reached that stage.

Shelton, who won the 2022 Division I men’s singles championship on the University of Florida after which turned skilled that August, has had a wonderful draw here, facing no opponents ranked in the highest 50. His returns need numerous work but after saving a match point in the primary round against Zhang Zhizhen of China, he has continued to rise to the occasion, embracing the matches and the post-match interviews with the identical enthusiasm.

In just his second major tournament, Shelton has gone one round farther than his father and coach, Bryan Shelton, whose best Grand Slam run was to the fourth round at Wimbledon in 1994. He will even pass his father’s best profession rating of 55, breaking into the highest 50 next week.

“I try to not take into consideration that in any respect,” Ben Shelton said of the comparison. “My dad’s the rationale I’m here. I wouldn’t be here without him. They are saying you do higher in your second try, and I feel the best way he coaches and explains the sport to me and all of the life experiences he’s given me, and my mom as well, are just about the only reason I’m within the position I’m in.”

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