Shelton to play Djokovic in US Open SFs, Gauff, Muchova, breeze through

New York, Sep 5 (EFE).- Young American Ben Shelton beat his compatriot Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday at the United States Open to earn a place in the semifinals, where he will face Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, while Coco Gauff swept past Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko.

At 20, No. 47 seed Shelton scored the most important victory so far in his still brief tennis career and became the youngest American tennis player to reach the semifinals of the tournament since Michael Chang in 1992.

For this he had to defeat world No. 10 Tiafoe, who was a semifinalist at Flushing Meadows last year, in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2 in three hours and seven minutes.

The left-hander has a powerful serve and played to the limit over and over, which produced excellent results against Tiafoe.

Shelton had 14 aces but committed 11 double faults and hit 49 winners with 34 unforced errors.

“Stay hungry,” his father and also his coach, Bryan Shelton, yelled over and over again during this game.

The pivotal point came in the third set, in which both tennis players exchanged several service breaks until reaching a tie break in which Shelton kept calm facing set point for Tiafoe, producing a winning return that was as reckless as it was wonderful.

“I feel like I gave everything here tonight. It was an emotional battle,” said the young man on court as soon as the game ended.

This duel between Tiafoe and Shelton had special significance not only for facing two local tennis players in the US Open, but also because it was the first with two African-Americans in a grand slam quarterfinal in the Open Era.

Former champion Djokovic now awaits the 20 year old after the Serb beat American Taylor Fritz 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes.

In the women’s draw, Czechia’s Karolina Muchova breezed past Romania’s Sorana Cirstea to qualify for the semifinals, where she will face American Coco Gauff.

Muchova won her quarterfinal match 6-0, 6-3 in one hour and 37 minutes.

The No. 10 seed has experienced an astonishing rise in recent months, so much so that at this time last year she was ranked 235th in the world and was eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

She is now in the top 10 of the rankings and was a finalist at Roland Garros in June.

Muchova will have a tough duel in the semifinals against Gauff, 19, who is playing at a fantastic level and is a crowd favorite at Flushing Meadows.

Gauff, ranked 6th in the world, won her quarterfinal match Tuesday and crushed Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-2 in just one hour and eight minutes.

On the other side of the draw, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who at the end of this tournament will be the new world No. 1, will face China’s Qinwen Zheng on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.

The winner of that duel will face off in the semifinals with the victor of the match between the Czechia’s Marketa Vondrousova and the American Madison Keys. EFE


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