He did, at 20, Ben Shelton qualified for the first Grand Slam semi-final of his home career. The American defeated his compatriot Frances Tiafoe (10th) in four sets and 3:07 of play: 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2. After a fine Australian Open ended in a quarter-final, the 47th player in the world achieved a second great performance in the Grand Slam. He also became the youngest American to reach the last four at Flushing Meadows since Michael Chang, who lost at this stage to Stefan Edberg in 1992.
"That was hot, huh guys?" Shelton told the crowd after the game. "I gave everything. What a battle, what an atmosphere!" The match between two of the figures of American and world tennis with personality and flamboyant game did not keep all its promises, despite some spectacular points. The climax of the match was reached at the end of the third set. After six breaks in the first eight games, the two men came to 4-4, then the tie-break. In the deciding game, Shelton, whose serve is a lethal weapon, served for the set at 6/5. But he committed two double faults in a row, letting Tiafoe come back in front and serve in turn for the set at 7/6. On a second ball from his opponent, Shelton then unleashed a hair-raising forehand return which left his opponent without reaction while exploding with admiration the 24,000 spectators of the immense Arthur-Ashe court.
“Sometimes you have to unplug the brain, close your eyes and let it all go,” Shelton commented of this winning move. In the aftermath, he scored the next two runs and pocketed the set. Tiafoe's resistance was defeated. He twice lost his faceoff in the fourth inning and allowed Shelton to serve for the game at 5-2. With this success, Shelton climbed one more step in New York which will make him enter the World Top20 on Monday at the end of the tournament. In the semi-finals, he will face Novak Djokovic, the future world number 1, who is aiming for a 24th Grand Slam title to equal the absolute record held by Margaret Court.