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On the Australian Open, American Men Advance en Masse


Paul will face Roberto Bautista Agut, a Spanish veteran who’s seeded twenty fourth and is the one seeded player left in the underside quarter of the draw.

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

The opposite players in that section are Shelton and Wolf, former collegiate standouts who will face one another on Monday. Shelton won the N.C.A.A. singles title last 12 months for the University of Florida, where he was coached by his father Bryan Shelton, a former ATP Tour player. Wolf, 24, played for 3 years at Ohio State, where he was an All-American and the Big Ten player of the 12 months in 2019.

Ben Shelton and Wolf have develop into friendly since Shelton turned pro last August. “I had seen him play in college tennis, but he was older than me, so we never competed against one another,” Shelton said of Wolf. “We’re good friends, prefer to joke around quite a bit, have a number of locker room banter.”

Each are solidly built and powerful. Wolf has probably the most penetrating forehands in the sport. Shelton, a left-hander, has probably the most intimidating serves, often surpassing 124 miles per hour. He has won 83 percent of his first-serve points in Melbourne and 64 percent of his second-serve points. Shelton was not broken on Saturday as he prevailed over Alexei Popyrin, the Australian who upset Fritz within the second round and again had a giant home crowd able to support him in John Cain Arena.

“They form of set the tone once I walked out on the court, and I got booed,” said Shelton, laughing. “Much like some away matches and college atmospheres that I actually have been at but definitely amplified today. The sound in there form of just vibrates.”

But Shelton’s dominant play in his victory, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-4, often meant that the sector was unusually quiet. His shouts of “Come on!” reverberated through the space.

“Truthfully, if that is the best way he plays day in, time out, the guy is top 10 in six months,” Popyrin said.

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