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Ben Shelton’s Thrilling Victory Over Frances Tiafoe at the US Open Semifinals

In an explosive confrontation under the sparkling lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, Ben Shelton, known for his strong strokes, pushed past Frances Tiafoe in a tense four-set clash, winning victory with a scoreline of 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2. This dramatic struggle not only gained Shelton a coveted position in the US Open semi-finals but also engraved his name in history as the youngest American to achieve this achievement since the legendary Michael Chang in 1992. The scenario is now set for a huge meeting as Shelton is about to face none other than the 23-time Grand Slam champion, Novak Djokovic.

The atmosphere throughout this night session was nothing short of electric, setting the stage for a contest that will be remembered for years to come. What made this match so more remarkable was that it featured two Black American men, a rare occurrence on the world’s greatest tennis stage. While James Blake and Donald Young had met at Ashe in the opening round of the 2008 US Open, the stakes were substantially higher this time. The victor of this encounter would advance to meet Djokovic in Sunday’s final, with the possibility to end a 20-year drought for an American at the US Open.

Shelton, rated 47th, left it all on the floor, describing the struggle as an intense one. He extended his gratitude to the passionate crowd for staying late and generating a great environment. “He (Djokovic) has won 23 of these (Grand Slams), it doesn’t get much better than that. It’s been tough the last two matches; I’ve been playing Americans, but hopefully, you guys bring it for me two nights in a row,” Shelton remarked.

Tiafoe, the 10th seed, had grabbed the hearts of the home crowd with his stunning run to the semi-finals the previous year. Although he had dropped just one set on his road to the quarter-finals, he faced a difficult opponent in Shelton. Shelton’s groundstrokes carried a punch, bringing gasps of awe from the maximum crowd. After holding his first two serves, Tiafoe failed to compete with Shelton’s booming forehand, culminating in Shelton taking the opening set by capturing five consecutive games.

However, Tiafoe remained composed, gradually adjusting to Shelton’s power-packed shots. He seized his first break opportunities in the sixth game of the second set, squaring the match at one set apiece. The third set was a genuine rollercoaster, with momentum swinging with every serve. Six breaks, three from each player, occurred in the opening eight games. The set ultimately went to a tie-break, which was just as surprising. Shelton endured hurdles, including back-to-back double faults, one on set point, before clinching it 9-7.

As they reached the fourth set, it was evident that Shelton had the momentum on his side. He delivered a backhand winner down the line, leaving Tiafoe flat-footed and sealing an early break. Another break at 5-2 put Tiafoe in a vulnerable position, and Shelton confidently held his serve to secure the win.

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