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Ben Shleton Cincinnati Open 2022

Five things to know about Ben Shelton

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Ben Shelton has been making waves on the US Open series with two big upsets at the Cincinnati Open. 

Join Tennishead as we bring you up to speed on the American hotshot ahead of what is shaping up to be a summer to remember for the teen talent.

 

1) Background

Ben Shelton was born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on 9th October 2002.

He takes after his father, Bryan Shelton, who was himself an ATP tour pro.

 

2) Family pedigree

Bryan, 56, had a professional career spanning eight years from 1989 to 1997, one which saw him peak at 55 in the world in singles and 52 in the world in doubles.

He reached at least the second round of all four Slams in both singles and doubles over his time as a pro, his best Slam result coming at Wimbledon 1994.

There he defeated 1991 champion and second seed Michael Stich in the the first round before losing in the  fourth round to Christian Bergstrom 10-8 in the fifth set.

Bryan retired with a win-loss record of 104-137 at tour level and with two tour titles to his name, both claimed at Newport in 1991 and 1992.

 

3) A Florida first

Since June 2012, Bryan Shelton has been head coach of the Florida Gators men’s tennis team at the University of Florida.

Though a prolific sporting college in the NCAA Division I, Florida had never won the men’s national championship in tennis.

That changed in 2021 when Bryan as coach and son Ben as player played their part in taking home the national championship 4-1 over Baylor.

Ben, then a freshman, even clinched the deciding singles match, defeating Charlie Broom 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

 

 

A year on in May 2022, a sophomore Ben Shelton landed individual triumph by winning the 2022 NCAA men’s singles championship.

Seeded first, Shelton ousted sixth seed August Holmgren of San Diego 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

 

4) Ready for the pros?

Still just 19, a junior in college, and barely a year on from his first professional match, Shelton accepted a wildcard into the ATP 250 Atlanta Open in late July 2022.

And it was first ATP match, first ATP win for Shelton as he defeated world number 229 qualifier Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2, 7-5.

Next up was a man ranked over 200 places higher, six-time winner and defending champion John Isner.

Despite the disparity in experience, Shelton held is own, only losing in a third set tiebreak 6-7 (8-10), 6-4, 6-7 (3-7).

 

 

5) A dream debut

After Atlanta, Ben Shelton made his way to Illinois for a Chicago Challenger.

He reached the final, his second at Challenger level, defeating top 200 players Dmitry Popko, Jordan Thompson, and Gjis Brouwer to get there.

He then lost to world number 122 Roman Safiullin in the final there, but still rose to a career 229th in the world off the result.

Handed a wildcard into the Cincinnati Masters, the teen defeated world number 56 Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-5 for his first win over a top 100 opponent on his Masters 1000 debut.

In the next round he took on recent Montreal Masters semi-finalist and world number five Casper Ruud.

But Shelton made short work of the French Open finalist, winning 6-3, 6-3 in stunning fashion to make it to the last 16.

That first top 10 win launched him to 171st in the live ATP rankings.

After receiving a singles wildcard to the US Open, who knows what Ben Shelton could do on the hard courts at Flushing Meadows?

 

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