Shelton Serves Mmoh Off The Court In Dallas
All-American battle at the ATP 250 in Texas
Shelton serves Mmoh off the court 6-3, 6-3 to reach the Dallas Open quarters
Ben Shelton, the twenty-one-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia has endured an inauspicious start to the season after reaching the semis at the US Open last September.
He was 4-3 on the season including a five-set loss to Adrian Mannarino in the third round of the Australian Open. Last year down under he reached the quarters, so his ranking dropped from a career high of fifteen to sixteen.
Looking to jump start his season on home soil at the Dallas Open, he took on fellow American, Michael Mmoh. Mmoh, five years older, was born in Saudia Arabia and lived there until he was thirteen. He currently resides in Bradenton, Florida, and trains at the IMG Academy.
He achieved a career-high ranking of #81 last September but is currently ranked #115 having lost in the first round of qualies at the Australian Open. He should, however, glean confidence from his performance last week in Montpellier where he battled admirably in a 6-7, 4-6 loss to world #7, Holger Rune.
This was their first tour-level match, but Shelton prevailed in the first round of qualies at the 2021 US Open in two, tight tiebreak sets. Mmoh won the toss and chose to receive.
Shelton hit an ace out wide and held easily to 15 while Mmoh struggled, gifting five unforced errors, the last to dump serve. The #3 seed struck three consecutive winners including two additional aces and consolidated the break for 3-0. Mmoh hit his first ace and held at love to get on the board.
Shelton pummeled the ball from the back and forecourt and with another ace tailing away, held for 4-1. Mmoh continued to whiff the forehand and faced deuce but with two winners including a 133mph ace up the tee, held for 2-4.
Shelton made 3/4 first serves and with a spectacular overhead smash, held at love for 5-2. Mmoh serving with new balls and to stay in the set, crushed an overhead and with an ace up the tee, held easily to 15 for 3-5.
The NextGen superstar devoid of pressure quickly reached triple set point and after thirty-three minutes, secured the set at love.
With few extended rallies, it was difficult for the home crowd to remain invested as Shelton was supremely focused and dialed in on serve. Mmoh served first in the second and held at love with a forehand winner and spot serving.
In his opening service game, Shelton hit three winners, the last a serve and volley, and held at love to level while Mmoh opened the third with an ace out wide and held at love for 2-1.
Shelton made 3/4 first serves and with two remarkable groundstroke winners, held at love for 2-2. Mmoh opened the fifth with an ace up the tee but with two unforced errors including his first double fault, dropped serve.
Shelton stalked the baseline and with pinpoint accuracy on serve, held at love with an ace out wide. Mmoh hit two consecutive winners including an ace up the tee and held to 15 for 3-4.
Shelton serving with new balls, opened with an ace out wide and for the sixth consecutive time, held at love! Mmoh serving to stay in the match lacked the requisite tools to trouble his opponent. As the unforced errors continued to accrue, Shelton reached triple match point and after a little over an hour, secured victory with an inside-out forehand winner.
It was a stunning and dominating performance, particularly on serve for the young American. He finished with seven aces, zero double faults, and won 93% of first and 90% of second serve points.
He did not face a break point while converting 3/6. Shelton has brushed off the cobwebs as he prepares to make further inroads later this season during the Sunshine Double. The trophy in Dallas surely would bolster his confidence but standing in his way of the semis is either fellow American and tour veteran, Denis Kudla, or the in-form Aussie, Jordan Thompson who dispatched Rafa Nadal in Brisbane earlier this season.