Is American men's tennis on the verge of a renaissance? The last man from the United States to win a Grand Slam tournament was Andy Roddick way back at the 2003 US Open. The USA will have one men's semifinalist in the 2023 Australian Open because Americans Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton meet in the quarterfinals Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET in Melbourne. Paul is a -280 favorite in the tennis odds at Caesars Sportsbook with Shelton listed at +210.
Three American men reached the quarterfinals – the first time that's happened at the Australian Open since 2000 -- but Sebastian Korda retired from his match early this morning Eastern time against No. 18 seed Karen Khachanov trailing 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-0.
Korda, a 22-year-old whose father Petr was the 1998 champion in Australia, felt pain in his right wrist earlier in the match and played through it for a while after getting the wrist taped. Khachanov will face No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-4 winner over Jiri Lehecka, for a berth in the men's final. Tsitsipas opened as a -260 favorite with Khachanov +200.
Tonight's matchup between Paul and Shelton – neither is seeded -- is the first Grand Slam quarterfinal between two men from the USA since 2007, when Roddick beat Mardy Fish in Melbourne.
The 25-year-old Paul, from New Jersey, has one singles title in his ATP career, having won in Stockholm in 2021 on indoor hard courts. The No. 35 player in the world upset No. 24 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets to advance to his first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal. Paul's previous best Slam result was reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2022.
Shelton is just 20 years old, ranked No. 89 in the world, but is a rising star. He is a former NCAA singles champion, having played at the University of Florida where his father Bryan, a former professional with two ATP titles, is the coach. Ben Shelton knocked off fellow American JJ Wolf in a five-set marathon to become the first American man under the age of 21 to make a Slam quarterfinal since Roddick at Wimbledon in 2003. Prior to coming to New Zealand and Australia this month for warm-up events, Shelton had never left the United States. This will be only his ninth pro match (4-4 record).
Paul and Shelton haven't met as professionals. The winner will face either No. 4 seed and nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic or No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev in the semifinals. Their quarterfinal match is scheduled to start at 3:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
Djokovic missed last year's Aussie Open due to his COVID vaccination status but has won 25 straight matches at the tournament. He's a -800 favorite against Rublev (+500) and -240 to win the event yet again. Paul is +2500 and Shelton is +4000.
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