Indian Wells: Ben Shelton battles past Francisco Cerundolo to reach fourth round


California [US]: The World No. 16 Ben Shelton entertained the crowd in his third-round clash against 22nd seed Francisco Cerundolo in the ongoing Indian Wells as the American survived a 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(5) marathon under the lights, setting up a Round of 16 showdown with Jannik Sinner.

“Definitely a crazy match tonight. I heard the curfew was early here in Palm Springs. But you guys showed out tonight, so thanks everyone for staying, I know me and Fran really appreciate it,” Shelton said in his on-court interview as quoted by ATP.

After two hours and forty-three minutes clash, the big-serving 16th seed advanced despite only hitting six aces.
According to Infosys ATP Stats, Cerundolo, who enjoys using his forehand to control play, saved nine of the break points he encountered. Shelton, though, handled pressure well in both tie-breaks. He gave credit to his box for helping him control his anxiety when it counted most.

“A lot of help from my box over there keeping me calm after losing the second set. Definitely took a lot out of me tonight. It’s just one of those atmospheres you love playing in. There are people screaming for me. There’s people screaming for Fran,” Shelton said.

“It’s all love guys. I know you guys were screaming at me, but hopefully we can still be friends!” he added.
The first two ATP Head2Head clashes between Shelton and Sinner were split last year. Before the Italian took retribution in Vienna in straight sets, the Americans battled through a tiebreaker in the last set in Shanghai.
Shelton, though, is eager to take on the task of ending Sinner’s 17-game winning streak. He was brief when asked to predict the match, which will determine who advances to the quarterfinals.

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