In a highly anticipated all-American clash at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, Sebastian Korda faced off against Ben Shelton in a thrilling quarter-final showdown. Korda emerged victorious, defeating Shelton with a score of 6-7(10), 6-2, 7-6(6), marking the first all-American ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final since 2017.
Despite Shelton’s impressive 17 aces from his powerful lefty serve, the composed 26th seed Korda maintained his composure to secure the win, even though he let five match points slip away in the deciding set tie-break.
“It’s super cool,” said Korda, when asked about reaching his maiden Masters 1000 semi-final. “I played at a really high level. Ben did as well, so I think it was a really high level. We had a lot of great points out there and hopefully, it’s the first of many battles that we play against each other”.
“He’s such an electric tennis player and it was a lot of fun to share the court with him today.”
In a gripping showdown at the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, Sebastian Korda outlasted Ben Shelton in a Shanghai thriller that kept fans on the edge of their seats. The match’s climax arrived in the second tie-break, capping off a pulsating encounter.
The opening set saw Shelton clinching it, although Korda had initiated the match more confidently, he couldn’t crack Shelton’s strong serve. The 21-year-old Shelton displayed resilience, saving a set point at 8/9 in the tie-break and ultimately securing the set, dealing Korda a blow after his promising start.
Yet, Korda’s determination shone brightly as he stormed through the second set, breaking Shelton’s serve three times. It became evident that Shelton was grappling with fatigue.
This trend persisted into the decider, where Korda surged ahead at 4-2. Nevertheless, Shelton, propelled by his forehand’s power and precision, mounted a remarkable comeback, leading to a thrilling closing tie-break.
Unfortunately for Shelton, his comeback was incomplete, and Korda secured victory by converting five of the 16 break points he had earned throughout the match.
“I’m just thankful to stay calm,” said Korda after staving off Shelton’s late charge. “I played some bad points but I always believed in myself, even at 6/6. I just thought about putting the return in the court, somehow getting my racquet on it and luckily I finished it off then.”
“I’ve been playing some really good tennis the past couple of weeks,” said Korda, who is now 26-13 for the season. “I had a good result in Zhuhai, then went to Astana and made the final and now the semis here. I’m playing some good tennis now and hopefully, I can keep it going and keep playing the way I’m playing.”