Shelton Soars Into Georgia’s Rome Challenge Quarterfinals

Ben Shelton (photo: Doug Walker)


US-American teenager Ben Shelton continued his good run of form this week on home soil by reaching the quarterfinals of the inaugural $53,120 Georgia’s Rome Challenger. In an-all lefty affair, the 19-year-old qualifier from Atlanta edged out his compatriot Alex Rybakov 7-6(4), 6-3 on Thursday.

Shelton, who captured his maiden pro title in Champaign, Illinois in August last year and advanced to the stage of the final four at the ATP Challenger Tour tournament in Little Rock in June this season, saved all five break points he faced and capitalized on one of his own three break-point chances to seal victory in one hour and 39 minutes.

The World No. 433 will next take on Alex Kovacevic from the United States, who battled past local qualifier Strong Kirchhiemer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 58 minutes.

Top seed Yoshihito Nishioka booked his place in the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Alexis Galarneau of Canada. The World No. 99 from Japan broke his rival six times and won 57 per cent of the total points played to advance in one hour and 30 minutes. Nishioka will next play his compatriot Yasutuka Uchiyama.