The first minutes of the match confirmed what has been said about Ben Shelton for some time – he is a hit on the court and has a very strong serve, as evidenced by the traces of cupping on his left arm (the 20-year-old is left-handed). He “welcomed” Novak Djokovic with high speeds of his own serve and there were no breaks in the first five games. But that came in the sixth.
Technical imperfections and tactical nonchalance became more and more visible in the American’s game. As a result, he lost his serve to 15 and the scoreboard showed 2:4. The Serb finished the opening game after the fifth set ball. The previous four were for his return, but the fifth was not.
The second game started with a break point for “Nole”, but it was not used. Shelton lost direct contact with his opponent at a similar moment as in the first – this time in the fifth game. He was unable to get up and after a while “Djoko” already had a double break advantage (2: 5), and then “served” an increase in the lead throughout the semi-final.
The third part of the duel finally brought more emotions. Although Djokovic was leading 2-0 and 4-2, the player born in Atlanta won the next three games, showing incredible courage and precision of strokes even in full speed. The audience in the stands also became animated, adding their two cents to the spectacle. Shelton even had a set ball on the opponent’s pass, but he didn’t convert it. It became 5:5.
There were more twists and turns at the end – Shelton played another shortcut, which wasn’t his strong weapon. This resulted in a break for the Serb and his serve to advance to the final. However, there was a surprise: the twenty-year-old “came back to life”, leading to a tie-break.
The winner of this year’s Australian Open and Roland Garros started it with a mini-break advantage and a 0-3 lead. After a while, he made a simple “timing” mistake from half the court. Shelton returned the favor with a double serve and the score was 1-5, but his next break reduced the loss to 4-5. Then the Serb had two serves that could have given him the final, and so it happened. He will play for the trophy in New York for the tenth time. So far, he won in 2011, 2015 and 2018. His rival will be Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev.
% of break points won