ATP Tour Official Tournament

Shelton dazzles in Dallas debut

8 February 2024 By ATP Staff
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Paul also advances; Duckworth upsets fifth seed Eubanks


Ben Shelton made a grand entrance at the Dallas Open on Wednesday, using a near-perfect serving performance and an aggressive all-court game to beat fellow American Michael Mmoh 6-3, 6-3 in his tournament debut. The victory earned Shelton his sixth tour-level quarter-final appearance and his second on home soil after his electric run to the 2023 US Open semis.

In his first match since a third-round defeat to Adrian Mannarino at the Australian Open, the third-seeded Shelton lost just three points on serve and ripped 23 winners in an efficient 63-minute victory. He also showed off his variety by winning 12 of his 14 net approaches.

"I was pretty surprised with the level I played at today," Shelton said after his first match in nearly three full weeks. "I felt comfortable out on the court playing and moving. I thought I played a really good match."

After winning his first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting with Mmoh, Shelton is now 13-1 against opponents outside the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since the start of August. In between deep runs at the Australian Open and US Open last season, Shelton did not string multiple wins together on the ATP Tour. What has changed since his early days as a professional?

"I think the biggest thing for me is my movement," he said, "I think a year and a half ago I had two left feet. I couldn't move on the court. Probably there's a lot of people in the stands right now who were moving on the tennis court better than me. But I feel like that's the part of my game that improved the most and I'm moving at a pretty high level right now."

The American will face seventh seed Jordan Thompson or lucky loser Denis Kudla in the quarter-finals.

Australian James Duckworth scored an early upset on Wednesday with a 7-6(3), 6-4 win against Christopher Eubanks. Duckworth did not face a break point against the fifth seed. American Marcos Giron also scored an upset, knocking off sixth seed Max Purcell to reach the quarter-finals.

Tommy Paul closed out the day's play by beating Japan's Taro Daniel 6-3, 6-2. The second-seeded American saved all four break points against him while converting on three of his 14 break points.

Paul is now 13-1 in his opening matches since Wimbledon, with his lone defeat in that stretch coming to Daniil Medvedev in Beijing. His quarter-final opponent will be eighth seed Dominik Koepfer or Rinky Hijikata.