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US Open ATP Betting Preview: Frances Tiafoe vs Ben Shelton

September 5, 2023


10th-seeded Frances Tiafoe and unseeded Ben Shelton square off at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the US Open quarter-finals on Tuesday night. 

Two of the three American men remaining in the US Open will go head-to-head under the brightest lights on the biggest stage. 

The winner from Tuesday night's quarter-final will face either fellow American Taylor Fritz or second seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the semi-finals on Friday. 

Not since Andre Agassi, Robby Ginepri and James Blake in 2005 have three American men reached the US Open quarter-finals. Furthermore, no US man has won any Major since Andy Roddick claimed his first and only Grand Slam crown here 20 years ago, when Ben Shelton was just months old.

This is another huge success for domestic tennis given the fact that the United States will surely have at least one semifinalist for a second year in a row. Of course, the main objective remains winning the title, but the presence of 23-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic in the same half of the draw makes the current accomplishment remarkable enough already. 

Frances Tiafoe Betting Preview (-255 at BetOnline)

The new American generation looks promising. At 25, Tiafoe is more in the class of Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul (both ranked either side of him) and he's enjoying another strong campaign at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. 

Frances Tiafoe not only reached the semi-finals last year, when he defeated the likes of Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev but eventually lost a thrilling five-setter against Carlos Alcaraz, but he also made back-to-back Round of 16 appearances in 2020 and 2021. 

However, Tiafoe was far from impressive since winning the Stuttgart Open in June (reaching a career-high No 10 in the ATP Rankings), but he successfully reignited his winning shots at Flushing Meadows. 

Tiafoe joined the North American summer swing a couple of weeks after his disappointing third-round exit at Wimbledon. He started with back-to-back wins over Aslan Karatsev and Chinese teenager Juncheng at the Washington Open, but his winning run was stopped by eventual champion Dan Evans in the quarter-finals.

The 25-year-old American then lost his first match at the Canadian Open in Toronto (to Milos Raonic) and in the second round at Cincinnati (to Stan Wawrinka) before heading to New York City. 

Tiafoe has reached the US Open quarterfinals without any hiccups, but let's admit it - he had a very favorable draw. He dropped just one set in his third-round tie with Adrian Mannarino of France, but otherwise completed comfortable straight-sets wins over US wildcard Learner Tien, Sebastian Ofner of Austria and most recently against Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata in the round of 16. 

All in all, the average ranking of Frances Tiafoe's opponents throughout this US Open has been 226, with the most challenging opponent being 22nd-seed Mannarino, who's not widely regarded as a highly consistent player and actually owns a 0-21 record against Top-10 players at Grand Slams.

But on the other hand, Tiafoe won nine consecutive US Open tiebreaks. He won all eight he played during last year's competition, and won the fourth set against Adrian Mannarino this year.

Ben Shelton Betting Preview (+215 at BetOnline)

Shelton already reached the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier this year, when his progress was halted by fellow compatriot Tommy Paul (7-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4). Now at his maiden US Open quarter-final, the 20-years-old will be keen to avoid another major defeat in an all-American tie. 

Yet to reach an ATP Final, Shelton achieved a career-high ranking of No. 35 in the ATP Rankings this spring but that's likely to change very soon. He already made a significant climb in the Rankings following his Australian Open breakthrough and he's also impressing in New York City. 

However, the 20-year-old American had to overcome a few months of inconsistency as he endured a stretch of 18 consecutive ATP tournaments without securing back-to-back wins between February and August.

Shelton lost his first set at this year's US Open but rallied himself to wrap up a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Pedro Cachin of Argentina. He went on to beat the 2020 champion Dominic Thiem in the second round (the Austrian was forced to retire after he lost the first set) and then advanced to cope with Russia's Aslan Karatsev and 14th-seed Tommy Paul. 

Furthermore, Shelton is the youngest US player inside the ATP Top 100 and already got the better of a seeded American en route to the quarter-finals. That happened when Shelton beat Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the last-16 on Sunday. 

Spooky Express Betting Prediction 

We reasonably asked ourselves - can the new generation of domestic players produce the first American male US Open finalist since Andy Roddick in 2006? It’s a battle in which no matter who comes out victorious, the winner is American tennis.

Tiafoe's style is somehow unpredictable, he has the experience, especially when it comes to his previous US Open appearances, but his opponent has something to offer too. 

With that said, one of Shelton’s best tools is arguably his powerful serve. During his fourth-round match against Tommy Paul, Shelton fired a 149-miles-per-hour ace - the fastest serve at this tournament so far. 

A left-handed player, Shelton looks powerful and is also comfortable moving to the net off his powerful groundstrokes to finish his points. He also hits solid volleys, plays with a lot of energy and his comprehensive ability should represent a formidable challenge to Tiafoe, who to be honest had a very favorable draw en route to the quarter-finals. 

Last but not least, we already backed Frances Tiafoe to win Quarter 3 of the 2023 US Open at odds of +550 in our US Open ATP Betting Preview. He's just one match away from winning his quarter of the draw, but we expect a tight all-American clash. 

Spooky Express Free Play: Over 39½ Games -115 at BetOnline for 6/10 Units