Ben Shelton, Tommy Paul, Marcos Giron reach the quarterfinals in Tokyo
Three Americans have earned their way into the quarterfinals at the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships, an ATP 500-level event in Tokyo. Ben Shelton, Tommy Paul and Marcos Giron all advanced to the round of eight, hoping to claim a trophy for the American men following Jessica Pegula’s triumph in Seoul last week.
Shelton has been a breakout star this season, making a run to the semifinals of the US Open and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. He earned his third career Top 10 win last week at the ATP Masters 1000 in Shanghai after defeating world No. 4 Jannik Sinner, but fell in the quarterfinals to compatriot Sebastian Korda. Both of his matches in Tokyo have gone to three sets, including his opening round against qualifier Taro Daniel.
'Big Ben' will have no choice but to bring his big serve and great energy to his next match, where he will face No. 12 Tommy Paul, who sits just seven spots above him in the rankings. Paul hasn’t clinched a title since 2021, but was the runner-up at Acapulco and Eastbourne this year. He also reached the semifinals in Toronto, his best result at a Masters 1000-level tournament this year.
The players are tied at 1-1 in their previous encounters, with Paul defeating the tour newcomer in Melbourne, while Shelton avenged his loss in Queens. However, the matchup ensures that at least one member of the U.S. contingent will reach the semifinals at the tournament, and a win for Paul would keep his slim hopes for qualifying for the season-ending ATP Finals alive.
Giron has yet to advance to the semifinals at a tournament this year, but has reached the quarterfinals at Auckland, Dallas, Delray Beach and Munich in 2023. The 2022 San Diego finalist earned his spot in the Tokyo main draw by playing qualifying, and has only dropped one set so far in this tournament.
He defeated No. 2 seed Casper Ruud in straight sets to make it into the final eight for the third Top 10 win of his career. He lost to Paul in the Round of 16 in Toronto, and will get his chance at a rematch if Paul beats Shelton and Giron defeats No. 8 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The Americans fell just short of having four quarterfinalists, as top seed Taylor Fritz was upset Thursday by 20-year-old Japanese wild card Shintaro Mochizuki. Fritz won the first set without losing a game, and led 5-2 in the third set, but was beaten by the world No. 215, 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(2).