Alexei Popyrin vs Ben Shelton result: Unknown American downs Aussie in straight sets at the Australian Open

American Ben Shelton has advanced to the final 16 of the Australian Open after defeating Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-4 7-6(4) 6-4 in two hours of play.

The unseeded left-hander came out of gate with an aggressive plan in mind and started executing it from the opening point.

Shelton’s serve game and ground strokes were impressively dominant, with the 20-year-old capitalising more often than not to put Popyrin off.

In just his second Grand Slam appearance, the American has raced to the fourth round and will meet countrymen J.J. Wolf.

Shelton started off the match in positive fashion, putting the nervous Popyrin on the back foot from the get go.

The American broke the Australian in the fifth game and held serve until claiming the first set comfortably in 33 minutes.

Popyrin did have a break point early in the match but was not able to capitalise, hinting at his initial jitters.

The left-hander was covering the court well in the opening six games, rushing to the net and applying pressure to Popyrin.

The second set followed in a similar trend, with Shelton looking to be more assertive and giving himself chances to break early.

Popyrin was staring down the barrel of being a set and break down but managed to pull himself out of a deep hole.

After eventually holding serve, the wildcard flipped the script and scored himself three opportunities to break the American.

However, alike Popyrin, Shelton denied his chances and continued the back-and-forth action at 3-3.

With the pair unable to break one another, a tiebreak was forced to decide the second set.

Shelton had the mini advantage throughout the tiebreak and was able to maximise his lead to claim the second set, putting Popyrin in a very vulnerable position.

Full of confidence, the unseeded American was quick to the point throughout his service games, promptly taking control and putting the pressure back on Popyrin.

To the Australian’s credit, he stayed with the 20-year-old for most of the third set but was unable to deny the American’s damaging serve and ground strokes.

Sitting at 5-4 on serve, Shelton broke Popyrin to book himself a spot in the final 16, winning 6-4 7-6(4) 6-4 in two hours of play.

The left-hander will play fellow American J.J. Wolf, which is set to be on Monday.

Shelton’s ATP ranking rise from 568 – at the end of 2021 – to 89 currently shouldn’t come as a shock to those who have been following his journey.

In August 2022, the-then 19-year-old upset world No.2 Casper Ruud at the Cincinnati Masters in straight sets, becoming the youngest American to defeat a top-five opponent since Andy Roddick in 2001.

Along with Wolf, Shelton joins fellow Americans Tommy Paul and Sebastian Korda in the final 16.

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