Shelton Into Semis At Georgia’s Rome Challenger

Ben Shelton (photo: Doug Walker)


US-American teenager Ben Shelton has reached the semi-finals of the inaugural $53,120 Georgia’s Rome Challenger. The 19-year-old qualifier edged past his compatriot Alex Kovacevic 7-6(2), 7-5 on Friday.

Shelton, currently ranked on a career-high World No. 433, fired 12 aces and won 78 per cent of his first-service points to succeed in one hour and 53 minutes.

“It feels good, a bit tired but I feel good with my game right now. I am excited. This is my second Challenger semi-final,” Shelton said.

After his run to the stage of the last four at the Little Rock Open in early June, Shelton will now try to reach the final when he takes on Yasutaka Uchiyama. The 29-year-old knocked out fellow Japanese and top seed Yoshihito Nishioka 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 in exactly two hours of play.

In the bottom half of the draw, World No. 329 Yibing Wu upset second-seeded US-American JJ Wolf 6-4, 6-1. The 22-year-old from China capitalized on four of his nine break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 11 minutes.

Up next for Wu will be Juan Pablo Ficovich from Argentina. The No. 4 seed defeated seventh favourite Bjorn Fratangelo from the United States 6-4, 7-6(5) in one hour and 41 minutes.