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Monday, January 30, 2023

Australian Open: Ben Shelton gets the better of Alexi Poperian and ‘Rowdy’ crowd to reach last 16

FeaturedSports NewsAustralian Open: Ben Shelton gets the better of Alexi Poperian and 'Rowdy' crowd to reach last 16

American Ben Shelton put on a powerhouse masterclass to beat local favorite Alexey Poperian 6-3 7-6(4) 6-4 at the Australian Open on Saturday to reach the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time. . Career

Shelton had never traveled outside the United States on tour until this year and barely headlined warm-up tournaments in Adelaide and Auckland before bursting onto the scene in Melbourne.

Read this also Australian Open: Novak Djokovic beats Grigor Dimitrov to reach fourth round.

The 20-year-old was virtually unstoppable on serve as he closed the door to break Popperian at every opportunity while the American also fired 34 winners in front of a partisan crowd that saw another Australian present. Was hoping to see a step. “I know I came from college tennis and I really thought it was hectic in there, but this stadium is something special,” said a smiling Shelton.

“I know you guys were going for a hometown boy today and I didn’t have much of a crowd,” he added, even as fans roared their approval.

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were in action on Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena at the same time but the John Keane Arena still had a healthy turnout thanks to Alex De Manor, who gave the locals ‘Popeye’. He insisted on coming back. . “We Aussies, we stand together,” De Manor said in a post-match interview as the home fans watched him beat Benjamin Bonzi at the Rod Laver Arena.

A colorful crowd got in on the action, even attempting a Mexican wave at one point, but they were quickly subdued when Shelton broke midway through the opening set as celebratory screams of the American surrounded the arena. It was buzzing.

The fans got their voice again in the second set when Popayron took it to the tiebreak but Shelton silenced them again with his power and finesse to close the set with another roar. He could only watch in frustration as Popyrin soon lost his range and his unforced error tally mounted, giving the young American exactly two hours to give Shelton the advantage before finding the net on match point. I won.

A year ago, Shelton was ranked 570 but has now broken into the top 100 and could even make a deep run in the tournament to crack the top 50 – a rare feat for someone who didn’t play tennis until he was a teenager. wanted to play “For the first 12 or 13 years of my life, I swore I would never play tennis. It was my dad’s thing and I would let him,” he said, referring to his father Brian. Who reached the career. A high ranking of 55 in the 1990s.

“But yeah, I fell in love with the game and here we are. So hopefully I can make a career out of it.”

(tags to translate) Ben Shelton (T) Poppyrin (T) Aus Open (T) Australian Open (T) Aus Open 2023 (T) Australian Open 2023

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