Good morning from Melbourne! 🇦🇺🐨
Twenty-year-old Ben Shelton became the sensation of the Australian Open 2023. He reached the quarter-finals of the tournament, where he will face fellow American Tommy Paul this afternoon at 14:30. Here are his quarterly results.
- rd 1 room With Zhang 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(4)
- round 2 def. N. Jarry 7-6(3), 7-6(3), 7-5
- Rd 3 rooms A. Popyrin 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4
- Rd 4 rooms JJ Wolf 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-2
Several elements of his game are simply spectacular. Here’s a snapshot of 10 fit metrics that show why Shelton is so good.
1: Fastest serve in the tournament = 141.7 mph (228 km/h)
Shelton owns the tournament’s fastest serve, which was a 141.7 mph (228 km/h) bomb he hit in the first round. Shelton’s service move oozes power. The left initially leans forward and then swings back onto the back foot to build power and momentum. He then moves his back foot up and into deep knee flexion before lunging into contact. There is tremendous use of the legs and it certainly looks like he comes into contact much more than other players.
Here is a comparison of serve speed from his Rd4 victory over JJ Wolf.
The fastest first service
- Shelton = 226 km/h
- Wolf = 216 km/h
The average speed of the first serve
- Shelton = 196 km/h
- Wolf = 181 km/h
The fastest second service
- Shelton = 189 km/h
- Wolf = 173 km/h
The average speed of the second serve
- Shelton = 168 km/h
- Wolf = 152 km/h
Shelton has so far hit 61 aces in the tournament, committing only 18 double faults. His service is incredibly impressive.
2. Service games won = 95% (tournament average = 81%)
Shelton served 84 times in the quarterfinals, winning 80 of them. That’s good for the 95.2% he leads in the tournament at Service Games Won. His ability to stay in matches with serve alone means he will be so hard to beat any opponent.
3. Saved breakpoints = 11/15
Of the six players left in the tournament, Shelton and Djokovic lead the group with the fewest break points. Here is the list.
Break Points On Serve (remaining six players)
- Djokovic = 12
- Shelton = 15
- Paul = 27
- Rublev = 32
- Khachanov = 33
- Tsitsipas =
As you can clearly see, Djokovic and Shelton are in a class of their own when it comes to not allowing their opponents to break points on serve.
4: First serves not returned = 49% (tournament average = 37%)
Shelton ranks 12th in this category, with 151 of his 308 first serves not returning. Of the six remaining players in the tournament, he is the leader
Unreturned first serve
- Shelton = 49%
- Paul = 46%
- Khachanov = 46%
- ruble = 44%
- Tsitsipas = 42%
- Djokovic = 39%
5: Second serve not returned = 28% (tournament average = 17%)
Shelton is ranked 7th overall with the highest percentage of unreturned 2nd serves. His first serve is big. His second serve is also big and helps him score while serving. He is the best of the other six players in the tournament.
Second service not returned
- Shelton = 28%
- Tsitsipas = 25%
- Paul = 19%
- Djokovic = 17%
- ruble = 15%
- Khachanov = 12%
6: 2nd serve points won = 65% (tournament average = 51%)
This outrageous stat helps him go deep into week two. Usually, if you can win half of your second serve points, it’s generally a success. The tournament average at the moment is 50.6% (5113/10098). Shelton is much higher than 65% (123/189). Here’s how he fared in the tournament so far.
2 serve points scored
- Rd 1 = 58%
- Rd 2 = 70%
- Race 3 = 66%
- Rd 4 = 69%
7: Average raid length = 3.25 shots
Shelton loves to play first strike tennis. He thrives on this and doesn’t give his opponents a rhythm that could wear him out or reveal a potential weakness. Here is the average trade length of the six players remaining in the tournament.
Average rally length
- Shelton = 3.25 shots
- Tsitsipas = 3.68 shots
- Rublev = 3.78 shots
- Khachanov = 4.71 shots
- Paul = 5.02 shots
- Djokovic = 5.03 shots
8: Shelton = 67 forehand winners
Shelton’s forehand is his dominant shot from the back of the court. Here is his performance in the quarterfinals.
Being left-handed adds another offensive dimension to his game on the ground. He loves making big cuts on the ball and can score winners from anywhere on the pitch.
9: Serve and volley = win 76%
Shelton has served and volleyed 33 times so far in the tournament, winning 25 of them. This is by far the most of the six remaining players in the draw.
Serve and volley points played
- Shelton = 33 (Won 25/33)
- Djokovic = 18 (Won 14/18)
- Tsitsipas = 13 (Won 10/13)
- Paul = 7 (won 4/7)
- Rublev = 4 (2/4 win)
- Khachanov = 3 (Won 2/3)
Look for Shelton to serve and volley against Paul. The reason for this is to stop Paul from blocking/chipping/free-returning back. If Paul also has to respect possible serve and volley play, it will naturally cause more errors on the tackle.
10: Base Points Earned = 51% (263/516) – Tournament Average = 47%
With huge serves and solid returns, Shelton shouldn’t have a high win percentage relative to baseline. But it actually does. Getting 51% bps is a good result for him. He loves taking big cuts from the back of the court from both wings and throwing punches so heavy that opponents refuse to throw anything short.
Base Points Scored: Six players left
- Djokovic = 57%
- Khachanov = 52%
- Shelton = 51%
- ruble = 51%
- Tsitsipas = 50%
- Paul = 46%
Shelton plays with a free spirit and no fear at the back of the court. He’s going to play hard against Paul and force as many mistakes as possible.
Ben Shelton is the youngest American in the Top 100. I think he’s also the most exciting and endowed. I can’t wait to sit on the court tonight and watch him play Tommy Paul at the Rod Laver Arena this afternoon.
Good luck to both players!