We also saw another amazing all-American contest from yesterday afternoon at Rod Laver Arena with both Tommy Paul & Benjamin Shelton battling it out for tomorrow’s last four against the eventual winner from last night’s other QF – Novak Djokovic.
Paul had a great opening two sets that spanned from a such a close opening stage that went all the way via the tiebreak to an easy 2nd set run. Although Shelton never gave up to deny Paul a straight sets win at the first attempt following a tight 3rd stage, but Paul had the last laugh in the end where he confirmed Shelton’s elimination with the 5th & final set to spare – 6-7 (6-8 tiebreak), 3-6, 7-5, 4-6.
Incredible run to the final eight from Ben Shelton on his first go in this year’s Australian Open. We would’ve loved to see him have a crack v Novak but sadly it just wasn’t his day to savour yesterday. He was always on top of his high standards for the majority that puts him on the same page as Tommy Paul. Yes, he did show some execution in the third set but then he was always under pressure to tie another one going into the 5th set decider (if required) & Shelton just couldn’t drag Paul away from the finish line following the fourth stage with the QF exit. Sure his breakthrough here means that he will always last two weeks of grand slam singles’ campaigns going forward with an eye of trophies hopefully at some point.
The same goes to Paul but he’s a bit older now at 25 which is the right place to test himself v one of the top players, particularly Novak when he will be tested next in his first ever grand slam singles’ semi-final tomorrow. He was off on a flyer with such a close escape to get past Shelton in the first set followed by an easy 2nd stage run. Plus, Tommy also showed some response following a narrow third stage loss where his ability to fight back alongside his executions have reflected his match-winning QF performance in the end. These ingredients he has on offer will hopefully go all the way & block Djokovic in race towards Sunday’s main event against either Karen Khachanov or Stefanos Tsitsipas.