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US Open Semifinal Predictions: Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton

Novak Djokovic US Open

The men’s semifinal matches will feature at the US Open on Friday, and a blockbuster matchup is already set. American sensation Ben Shelton is in his first Grand Slam semifinal, and now he gets to take on the most accomplished player of all time. Does he have what it takes to knock off Novak Djokovic? Our writers give their takes on the match. Predicting this match are Nurein Ahmed, Jack Edward, Jordan Reynolds, Shane Black, and Damian Kust. Who do you think will win?

US Open Semifinal Predictions

Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton


Ben Shelton is in dreamland right now and I don’t think he can quite digest the magnitude of his achievement, until probably at the end of the tournament. To beat two of his more established compatriots in back-to-back matches to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal is certainly merited. Last year Frances Tiafoe suffered heartbreak at this stage, and Shelton has the seemingly improbable task against Novak Djokovic. The Serbian has gotten better with each passing round, leaving no doubt about his passage into a 10th US Open final.
Prediction: Djokovic in 3


In the first Grand Slam semifinal of his career; against the all-time men’s leader in Grand Slam titles; does Ben Shelton stand a chance? More so than most. Big servers have had their fair share of scalps over Djokovic, blowing the racket out of his hands on their day, and Shelton plays with the naive abandon of a young rising star with nothing to lose.

Still, Djokovic will be locked in and the match-up in a rally isn’t promising. The American’s movement could be better and his rally temperament will be there for the unravelling if the three-time former champion presses hard enough. I’ll give Shelton a set off the back of big serving and a gung-ho attitude but no way Djokovic misses his shot at a tenth final here.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4


Djokovic will be reassured knowing how good he usually is playing against big American servers. He showed that again by extending his dominant record against Taylor Fritz. But although Fritz is an excellent player, Shelton brings an electric shotmaking and style that is unique. The crowd dynamic will be interesting, as I think the American crowd is likely to back their player even more vociferously than normal, which often gets under Djokovic’s skin. In the end the Serbian’s experience and phenomenal returning to win. But I think Shelton will rise to the occasion due to his natural confidence and belief, and the match as a whole will be tight.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4


Ben Shelton is a joy to watch play tennis. His massive serve and forehand, paired with his attacking style, create fireworks every time he steps on the court. In just his fifth main draw Slam appearance, he has worked his way to the semis. Unfortunately for the 20-year-old American, Djokovic does a terrific job at neutralizing Shelton’s strengths. Djokovic will be able to block back most of his serves while forcing Shelton to play a few extra balls each point. This thins Shelton’s margins and will likely result in a high unforced error count.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4

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Shelton was in struggle town between the Australian Open and the US Open, but the two Slam runs are now going to get him inside the top 20. His return stats are up by so much this fortnight and even if the inexperience shines through sometimes, his energy on the court and love for the big stage still allow him to play fairly freely. Djokovic is such a beast, though, and perhaps the best returner of all time. The American can keep it tight if he comes out feeling like he’s got nothing to lose. But even if he opens up a lead, clinching this match would require maturity and stability that he might not be in possession of yet.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4

Main Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


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