Tokyo, Oct 22 (Ajit Weekly News) Ben Shelton beat Aslan Karatsev 7-5, 6-1 in the Japan Open final to win his first ATP Tour title, here on Sunday.
The American rallied from a set and 2-5 down to come through his semi-final match against Marcos Giron and he used that momentum in the final, where he consistently took the ball early on return to rush Karatsev, triumphing after 84 minutes, ATP Tour reports.
The American is the sixth first-time tour-level winner of the season and the first player since Lorenzo Musetti in Hamburg in 2022 to win their maiden ATP Tour title at a 500 event.
He will rise to a career-high No. 15 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, having started the season at No. 96.
“That meant a lot to me and my team. We have been working really hard since the beginning to build my game and win titles on the ATP Tour. I made some deep runs lately. You see the great champions, they finish weeks off. They win titles, they don’t just get to finals. They are able to maintain their level throughout the week. I am not saying I am anywhere there yet, but to be able to do it for one week, put together five matches in a row in Tokyo is really special,” Shelton said.
Earlier this season, Shelton advanced to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, before he reached the semifinals at the US Open, becoming the youngest American man to advance to the last four in New York since Michael Chang in 1992.
He now owns a standout 14-2 record in his past 16 matches, having also reached the quarterfinals in Shanghai last week.
Interestingly, Shelton is the youngest Tokyo champion since Lleyton Hewitt, 20, in 2001. He joins father Bryan Shelton as an ATP Tour titlist, becoming the fourth father-son duo to win tour-level singles titles in the Open Era (since 1968).
–Ajit Weekly News
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