TennisSection previews the 2023 Australian Open as Tommy Paul takes on Ben Shelton in the quarterfinal on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.
A massive opportunity lies in store for Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton. There will be an American semifinalist at this year’s Australian Open, but who will prevail?
With much of the focus centered around the likes of Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe, it is Tommy Paul who has emerged as the bright spark of American tennis players this fortnight. And Paul, along with the surprise package Ben Shelton, will vie for a place in the semifinals of the Australian Open. Who picked this matchup at the start of the tournament? Likely nobody. But then, again Tommy Paul’s talent is unquestionably so high that the man himself never doubted competing at the later stages of a Grand Slam. So could he pounce at that opportunity of going even further at the tournament?
Ben Shelton will stand in Tommy Paul’s path. Shelton, like his compatriot, arrived in Melbourne under the radar. It was his first trip outside US soil to compete at a Grand Slam. The 20-year-old NCAA champion will delay resuming his studies for a few days as he competes in a high-stakes match at the Australian Open. Shelton won a titanic tussle against J.J. Wolf, another fast-improving American, to reach the quarterfinals.
Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton have not played each other on the ATP Tour. Wednesday’s match at the Australian Open will be their first official meeting. Paul, like many of us, hadn’t seen a lot of Ben Shelton before this fortnight. But Shelton is a player on the rise and has bags of talent having won three straight Challenger titles towards the end of last year. He is projected to break the top 50 at the end of the tournament. This match’s outcome hinges on the player that can settle in and hold their nerves and handle the occasion better. It will be electric and fast-paced tennis as both players serve exceptionally well. Overall, I think Paul is technically the better player, moves around the court efficiently, and has an improving all-around game. If the 25-year-old can put Shelton’s serve under the microscope and take his chances, he will win. But if you’re looking for a safer pick, we strongly recommend the sets spread, with Shelton taking at least a set here.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Tommy Paul in 5 sets
Free Value Bet: Over 3.5 sets in the match
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