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2023 Australian Open: Paul ends Shelton's run in QF; Gauff & Pegula into doubles SF

Arthur Kapetanakis | January 25, 2023


Team USA was guaranteed one man in the Australian Open final four, and Tommy Paul earned the honor on Wednesday in Melbourne with a 7-6(6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win against fellow American Ben Shelton.

 

The 25-year-old can now look forward to a semifinal matchup against nine-time champion Novak Djokovic on Friday.

 

While Paul and Shelton battled it out in Rod Laver Arena, Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula scored a quarterfinal victory on the same side of the net as the women's doubles No. 2 seeds. The fan-favorite pairing defeated Chan Hao-Ching and Yang Zhaoxuan, 6-1, 6-1, in Margaret Court Arena.

 

Dana Mathewson was also a Wednesday winner as she teamed with Great Britain's Lucy Shuker to advance to the women's wheelchair doubles semis.

Paul reaches first Slam SF

In a matchup of first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalists, Paul and Shelton put on a show in what was a Laver debut for both. While the 20-year-old Shelton is becoming well-known for his booming lefty serve, Paul proved untouchable in most of his service games as he backed up well-placed deliveries with an aggressive and consistent baseline game.

 

The elder statesman in the matchup, Paul won the opening set by locking down from the backcourt to win two extended groundstroke exchanges from 6-6 in the opening tiebreak. He continued to dominate the rallies in sets two and three, until a late Shelton surge erased a break deficit in the third to extend the match.

An instant break in set four put Paul back in command, and this time he saw his advantage home to extend his best Grand Slam run.

 

"Making it to the second weekend of a Slam, that's everyones dream when they start playing tennis," Paul said in his on-court interview. "So I can't believe I'm here right now."

 

The American is set to break into the Top 20 for the first time behind his semifinal showing, while Shelton will make his debut inside the Top 50 on Monday. They will be two of 10 Americans in the Top 50 when the post-AO ATP rankings are released.

 

"I'm really happy to get through that match," Paul said. "There wasn't too much rhythm in the match, but Ben's a very tough player to play against and he's going to be in many more matches like this, so I think everyone should be really excited for that kid."

 

Gauff, Pegula near second Slam final

After singles runs to the fourth round and quarterfinals, respectively, Gauff and Pegula are closing in on the doubles crown in Melbourne. The Americans did not face a break point in a dominant win against Chan and Yang as they won their sixth and seventh consecutive sets of the fortnight.

 

After a three-set triumph in the first round, Gauff and Pegula have dropped just 14 games in their past three matches. They will look to continue their run against the Japanese team of Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara in the semis.

 

The Americans won three doubles titles together last season (Doha, Toronto, San Diego) and advanced to the Roland Garros final. Gauff also reached ther 2021 US Open final alongside Caty McNally.

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