Ben Shelton Becomes a First-Time Tour Titlist in Tokyo
Ben Shelton beats Aslan Karatsev (not pictured) to earn maiden title on tour in Tokyo, Japan. Photo courtesy: Hiroshi Sato / Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships.

American rising star Ben Shelton claims his maiden title on tour at the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships by beating World No. 50 Aslan Karatsev in straight sets on Sunday’s final in Tokyo.

US Open semifinalist Ben Shelton shines bright at the Japan Open to win his maiden singles title at tour level, toppling unseeded Aslan Karatsev 7-5, 6-1 in 84 minutes.

Making his first appearance at the ATP 500 tournament, the 21-year-old completed a dream week on Japanese soil to add a crown to his outstanding breakthrough season.

After the championship match, he outlined: “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 and put together five matches in a row in Tokyo is really special.”

The Georgia-born mastered his shotmaking to display a dominant performance against the experienced three-time titlist, who could not find a way to neutralize Shelton’s booming lefty serve.

The Moscow native struggled to execute his game plan, committing 20 unforced errors across the final, unable to convert the lone breakpoint opportunity he earned against his adversary.

The youngest Tokyo champion since 2001 finished with 18 winners, winning 80 percent of the first serve points to Karatsev’s 61 percent.

In addition, the American player from Atlanta earned 78 percent of his second serve points, converting four of six breakpoint chances.

Season Highlights

Ahead of the Asian swing, the NCAA singles titlist at the University of Florida in 2022 helped Team World clinch back-to-back titles over Team Europe at Laver Cup, held in Vancouver, Canada, in late September.

Earlier that month, he achieved the biggest result of his career at the US Open, moving through the last four on debut - lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

Previously, the Next Gen ATP Finals contender, who set off 2023 ranked at World No. 96, embarked on his first trip outside the USA to make an impression in the land Down Under.

At age 20, he progressed into the Australian Open quarterfinals, falling to compatriot Tommy Paul in four sets.

On Monday, he will crack into the Top 15 for the first time in his young career, and with plenty of action still ahead, Bryan Shelton’s son is nothing but “looking forward to finishing the season strong.”

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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