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  • Ben Shelton Wins US Clay Court Championships

Ben Shelton wins US Clay Court Championships

American Ben Shelton defeated Frances Tiafoe 7-5 4-6 6-3 to win the Fayez Sarofim & Co. Men's Clay Court Championships on Sunday.

Following in the footsteps of his father and coach Bryan, who himself was a 1992 River Oaks champion, Shelton defeated fellow American friend and "foe" in Sunday afternoon's final without an empty stadium seat in sight. 

In doing so, the No. 1 seed distanced his career head-to-head with Tiafoe 2-0 and perhaps made an even bigger statement as the 21-year-old party crasher to the older trio of 26-year-old US stars in Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul who been at the helm of American tennis this decade.

"That whole group of older Americans - Frances, Tommy, Taylor and Reilly (Opelka) - has had so much success at a young age and created a blueprint for me and other younger American players to follow," said Shelton in his post-match press conference.

"They are all talented guys with a lot of intangibles that have set the foundation for the recent uptick we’ve seen in American tennis. I’m excited to be a part of this movement and follow their lead"

When Shelton served out the match and clinched championship point, the crowd and cameras turned to him and simultaneously to the elder Shelton looking on proudly at his son. It’s not often in tennis when family members, much less father and son, get to share a piece of history together. It was a surreal moment that was felt throughout the stadium.

"My dad won this tournament in 1992 and he's always had that title as a 'one-up' on me, so I had to get even with him by winning the title today," Shelton said in his championship ceremony speech.

"Dad, thanks for being a trailblazer and showing me the way. I appreciate all of my family who made difficult journeys to come here and support me this week."

 

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