Frances Tiafoe v Ben Shelton: US Open 2023 quarter-final – live | US Open Tennis 2023

Key events

Tiafoe breaks in fifth game of third set!

Third set: *Tiafoe 2-6, 6-3, 2-3 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Another scratchy service game for Shelton, who falls behind love-15 then 15-40 for double break point. He’s able to erase one of them, but misfires off the forehand at the end of a 10-shot rally to hand the break right back. They’re back on serve in the third.

Shelton breaks in fourth game of third set!

Third set: Tiafoe 2-6, 6-3, 1-3 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

Tiafoe wins the opening point on his serve behind a 128mph missle, but follows with three straight unforced errors to go double break point down at 15-40. Uh-oh. And Shelton needs only one, ripping a backhand that Tiafoe can’t return for another break of serve. That’s 22 unforced errors against 17 winners for the No 10 seed.

Third set: *Tiafoe 2-6, 6-3, 1-2 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Shelton holds comfortably, slotting his seventh ace of the night along the way: a 106mph number out wide. On serve in early in the third.

Ben Shelton celebrates a point against Frances Tiafoe during their US Open quarter-final.
Ben Shelton celebrates a point against Frances Tiafoe during their US Open quarter-final. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Shelton breaks in second game of third set!

Third set: Tiafoe 2-6, 6-3, 1-1 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

Just when it seems as if the momentum might have shifted permanently, Shelton rattles off three quick points on Tiafoe’s serve for triple break point. Tiafoe saves the first with a well-placed second serve that Shelton can’t return, but Shelton rips a forehand passing winner on the ensuing point to break back immediately.

Tiafoe breaks in first game of third set!

Third set: *Tiafoe 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Shelton has disappeared into the tunnel for a bathroom break and a kit change. He’s allotted five minutes and an eager Tiafoe is lightly complaining to the chair umpire as the clock ticks down toward zero. Shelton looks a bit tight on his serve when he finally emerges to open the third, missing first serves while going behind love-15 then 15-30. He gets it to 40-30, but follows it with his 16th, 17th and 18th unforced errors of the match for the abrupt break! How tight? That game saw Shelton get only three of eight first serves in and those clocked in at 113mph, 102mph and 112mph.

Tiafoe wins second set, 6-3!

Second set: Tiafoe 2-6, 6-3 Shelton

And Tiafoe slams the door, capping the stress-free hold with a 120mph ace down the middle. All square after two sets with a best-of-three to decide who goes on to the semis.

Frances Tiafoe scored his first break of the match in the second set.
Frances Tiafoe scored his first break of the match in the second set. Photograph: Charles Krupa/AP

Second set: *Tiafoe 2-6, 5-3 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Shelton breezes to the easy hold, stumbling only momentarily with his fifth double fault of the match. Tiafoe will now step to the line to serve for the second set.

Second set: Tiafoe 2-6, 5-2 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

A couple more unforced errors from Tiafoe and he’s down 15-30 and in danger of giving the break right back. Shelton then curls a winner into the corner for 15-40 and double break point. Tiafoe erases the first with a backhand winner at the net, then the second when Shelton misfires on a forehand. Deuce. From there Tiafoe wins a pair of quick points to back up the break. He’s one game away from leveling this match at one set apiece.

Tiafoe breaks in sixth game of first set!

Second set: *Tiafoe 2-6, 4-2 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Shelton double-faults, then misses an overhand to go down love-30 on his serve. The crowd swells between points in support of the Tiafoe, who’s yet to earn a break-point chance tonight. And after winning the next point for love-30, Tiafoe has three of them. Shelton saves the first with a note-perfect backhand volley winner, but Tiafoe paints the line with a forehand on the following point to nail down the break and seize early control of the second set!

Second set: Tiafoe 2-6, 3-2 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

More pressure on Tiafoe’s serve at 30-all thanks to his 14th and 15th unforced errors. But he wins two quick points behind strong first serves to escape with the hold. On serve in the second.

Frances Tiafoe has his hands full early on with big-serving Ben Shelton.
Frances Tiafoe has his hands full early on with big-serving Ben Shelton. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Second set: *Tiafoe 2-6, 2-2 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Shelton, dialed in on his serve, holds at love for the first time all night, going forehand volley winner, 114mph ace out wide, 115mph unreturnable, 138mph service winner. He’s won 14 of the last 16 points on his racket.

Second set: Tiafoe 2-6, 2-1 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

Tiafoe is under pressure on his serve again, at love-15 then 30-all. That’s when Shelton slots a sharply angled volley at the net for another look at a break point. Huge moment here. And Tiafoe saves it with a gorgeous backhand passing winner on the ninth shot of a rally. His best shot of the night. From there Tiafoe hits another backhand winner and a 94mph second serve that Shelton can’t return into the court to escape with the hold.

Second set: *Tiafoe 2-6, 1-1 Shelton (*denotes next server)

A stress-free hold for Shelton, including a 124mph service winner to the body and a 129mph ace down the middle to cap it, and the youngster’s serve is really clicking now.

Second set: Tiafoe 2-6, 1-0 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

A good start to the second set for Tiafoe, who rattles off four quick points for his first love hold of the night.

Shelton wins first set, 6-2!

First set: Tiafoe 2-6 Shelton

Shelton strolls through the finish line of the opening set, punctuating the comfortable hold with a 110mph second-serve ace down the middle and a 127mph service winner out wide. Heck of a start for Shelton, who won 10 of 13 first-serve points and didn’t face a single break point.

Shelton breaks in seventh game of first set!

First set: *Tiafoe 2-5 Shelton (*denotes next server)

After trading points for 15-all, Tiafoe and Shelton go toe to toe over a 24-shot exchange, which Shelton takes with a brilliant backhand passing winner. Tiafoe wins the next point for 30-all, but then double-faults for the third time tonight to go break point down. And Shelton converts it with a stinging backhand early in a rally that Tiafoe can’t handle! Shelton is two breaks to the good in this opening set and will look to serve it out after the change of ends.

First set: *Tiafoe 2-4 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Shelton double-faults, wins a couple of quick points, then double-faults again for 30-all. Pressure? What pressure? The unseeded American pounds consecutive aces of 107mph and 138mph, both down Broadway, to consolidate the break with style.

Shelton breaks in fifth game of first set!

First set: Tiafoe 2-3 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

Shelton is putting more pressure on the serve of Tiafoe, who goes down love-15, then 15-30, then 30-40 for his second break-point chance of the match. Tiafoe erases it with a 120mph serve that Shelton can’t handle. Deuce. Tiafoe then cracks a 134mph serve but misfires on a drop shot early in the rally to hand Shelton another look at a break. Tiafoe erases that one, too, with another booming serve, but another careless error off the forehand side gives Shelton another break-point chance – his third of this game and the fourth of the match. And this time he capitalizes as Tiafoe sprays a forehand for his 10th unforced error of the match. First blood to the 20-year-old, who erupts in jubilation in the direction of his box. He’s fired up!

Ben Shelton has taken the early edge in the first set against Frances Tiafoe.
Ben Shelton has taken the early edge in the first set against Frances Tiafoe. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

First set: *Tiafoe 2-2 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Shelton wins three quick points, including his first ace of the night, for 40-15. But he follows with an unforced error off the forehand, then watches Tiafoe hit a forehand volley winner for deuce. First pressure point of the night for the 20-year-old. And he responds in style: winning a 13-shot rally with a forehand winner, then crunching a 139mph serve out wide that Tiafoe can’t return into the court.

First set: Tiafoe 2-1 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

A far more straightforward service game for Tiafoe. Shelton seems to be having trouble reading his opponent’s serve early. Have we mentioned it’s uncomfortably hot on Ashe? Temperatures of 84F (23C) with 63% humidity.

Frances Tiafoe brought all of the shoes.
Frances Tiafoe brought all of the shoes. Photograph: Charles Krupa/AP

First set: *Tiafoe 1-1 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Shelton strolls through his opening service game. No sign of nerves from the big-hitting southpaw.

First set: Tiafoe 1-0 Shelton* (*denotes next server)

An uncomfortable start for Tiafoe on his serve. Shelton hits a backhand volley winner (punctuating it with a “come on!”) on the first point of the match, then Tiafoe follows it with a double fault for love-30. Tiafoe serves his way out of trouble with three quick points behind a booming first serve, but then double-faults a second time for deuce. Tiafoe settles a 13-shot rally with a forehand winner, but Shelton follows with a nicely executed backhand volley winner for deuce number two. Tiafoe then makes a careless unforced error off the forehand and will face the first break point of the match, but he erases it with a 133mph ace out wide. Deuce once more. From there Tiafoe wins a cat-and-mouse point with a backhand volley winner before closing out the hold with a 131mph ace out wide. Nervy opening service game for the No 10 seed but the desired result.

Prelude

Hello and welcome to Arthur Ashe Stadium for tonight’s quarter-final clash between Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton. It’s the first time in history that two Black American men have reached the last eight at a grand slam and one of them is guaranteed passage to the US Open semi-finals and a date with 23-time major champion Novak Djokovic (who saw off Taylor Fritz earlier today).

The 20-year-old Shelton, the 2022 NCAA singles champion from University of Florida, has been the surprise package of the tennis season, surely on the US front. Playing in his second major quarter-final of the year in only his fifth career main-draw appearance, Shelton has become the youngest man to reach the US Open quarters since Andy Roddick in 2002 – and is looking to become the youngest to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows since Michael Chang in 1992. Armed with an explosive serve, he’s pounded a tournament-high 62 aces in four matches so far, including a pair of 149mph missiles in a single game during Sunday’s fourth-round win over Tommy Paul that are the fastest offerings of the event.

Tiafoe, the 25-year-old Maryland native whose extraordinary backstory has been well-documented in tennis circles for years, has dropped only one set en route to his third career major quarter-final, winning 83% of his first-serve points and crunching 45 aces against just seven double faults. His headline-grabbing run to the semis of last year’s US Open remains his career-best performance at a major and he’s keen on going at least one step farther this time around.

Karolina Muchova has just won 6-0, 6-3 over Sorana Cirstea to reach the women’s semi-finals in the first match of tonight’s night session, which means Tiafoe and Shelton should be on the court for their warm-ups shortly.

Bryan will be here shortly. Here’s a look back at today’s first men’s quarter-final where Novak Djokovic saw off Taylor Fritz in three sets.