2023 USO SF: Novak Djokovic (2) vs Ben Shelton

Who will win

  • Djokovic in 3

    Votes: 75 45.7%
  • Djokovic in 4

    Votes: 46 28.0%
  • Djokovic in 5

    Votes: 4 2.4%
  • Shelton in 3

    Votes: 13 7.9%
  • Shelton in 4

    Votes: 10 6.1%
  • Shelton in 5

    Votes: 16 9.8%

  • Total voters
    164

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
the-suspense-is-terrible-i-hope-itll-last.gif
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
If the young guy watched and became inspired by the Wimbledon final and decides to go for broke and if Djokovic gets a stomach virus, who knows?
 

Kralingen

Talk Tennis Guru
Can hardly believe this is a Slam SF but the young American strolls into his first Slam semi against Djokovic, who is only playing his 47th.

Very likely to be the early match on Friday.

Odds to come but I’ll be shocked if it’s lower than Djokovic -500 or so. He’ll be a massive favourite.

Maybe Shelton can just throw the kitchen sink and find a special zone of redlining, but I just don’t see him consistently winning enough pressure points vs the Djoker. He can however get some energy going and smack some return winners and steal a set, especially if he plays with the fearlessness he showed today.

It’ll be at least interesting, but ultimately I’ll be shocked if it’s any closer than Novak in 4.
 

Midaso240

Legend
If they were playing in the 2nd round or something, I'd say the young buck could win a set or two. But his first semi? You'd have to think it would be a surprise if it's anything other than Novak in 3.
 

tudwell

Legend
Gonna be a huge learning experience for Shelton on Friday. If he can bring the serve (which strangely he didn’t really today against Tiafoe), then maybe he’ll get to a tiebreak and maaaybe snatch one, but I think most likely straight sets for Novak with at least a break advantage in each.
 
i honestly think this could be a challenge for novak. novak has traditionally not done as amazing as you might think against big servers and shelton sort of reminds me of a stan 2.0 (not that shelton rn is anywhere near that level ofc but at least in terms of his willingness to just go big on a lot of points) that could help him obviously if he can reign in the aggressiveness but against novak that's kind of what you need to do so I can see this going 5 but novak just has too much momentum rn i feel. that being said it should be a good match.
 

bertrevert

Legend
Djokovic just handled a really big server such as Fritz quite... er, handily, so I expect him to handle Shelton in much the same way... handily again.

So question is does Ben have a plan B?
 

Thundergod

Hall of Fame
Djokovic probably in straights easily. I don't think he'll show up with no sack like Fritz, but his game is just way too raw and inconsistent to really trouble Djokovic. I would like to see some resistance because I'm starting to like the kid, but he's probably going to be spraying errors all over the place vs Djokovic.
 

CoolCoolCool

Hall of Fame
i honestly think this could be a challenge for novak. novak has traditionally not done as amazing as you might think against big servers and shelton sort of reminds me of a stan 2.0 (not that shelton rn is anywhere near that level ofc but at least in terms of his willingness to just go big on a lot of points) that could help him obviously if he can reign in the aggressiveness but against novak that's kind of what you need to do so I can see this going 5 but novak just has too much momentum rn i feel. that being said it should be a good match.
Oh here we go again lol.
 

Rosstour

G.O.A.T.
Excited for this, Shelton can't do any worse than Fritz. Hopefully Ben finds his inner Nadal Friday.

He doesn't need an inner Nadal, he needs an inner DelPo/Rosol/etc.

He's a blaster and that can take the racquet out of the hands of walls like Djoko and Nadal. Big hitters are their kryptonite and Shelton acted like he'd been here before. He may lose but I doubt he'll crap his pants like everyone else does vs Djok
 

Beulah Jesus

Hall of Fame
He has a very good serve. He'll need to up his game against you-know-who. Even then, I'm not sure it will be enough.
 

MeatTornado

Talk Tennis Guru
Djokovic just handled a really big server such as Fritz quite... er, handily, so I expect him to handle Shelton in much the same way... handily again.

So question is does Ben have a plan B?
Helped that the big hitter was serving under 50% for most of the day.

Which I also fully expect this kid to do under the bright lights of a semi-final.
 

Kralingen

Talk Tennis Guru
Shelton did at least show a propensity for demolishing 80mph puffball second serves tonight so that will be an intriguing subplot, especially if the Djokovic first serve % continues to stay in the toilet
 

ADuck

Legend
Djokovic in 3 or 4 sets. Shelton is way too aggressive and hits way too many UE to win the match, but he'll catch fire for at least one set and might take it.
 

tudwell

Legend
He doesn't need an inner Nadal, he needs an inner DelPo/Rosol/etc.

He's a blaster and that can take the racquet out of the hands of walls like Djoko and Nadal. Big hitters are their kryptonite and Shelton acted like he'd been here before. He may lose but I doubt he'll crap his pants like everyone else does vs Djok
Yeah I don’t think he’ll crap his pants. But he may have his technical and tactical deficiencies ruthlessly picked apart by the Serb to the tune of, like, 10 games won.
 

McGradey

Hall of Fame
Shelton will be doing well to make it to a tiebreak, and if he does and somehow manages to win one against Novak, I think his tank will be empty shortly thereafter. Djokovic will eat him in the rallies; straight sets is what I'm picking.
 
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Lauren_Girl'

Professional
Lol at Novak's draw in this tournament..just wow

Why lol?
Muller is harder than a walkover
Zapata Mirallès (76) is harder than a guy ranked #177 who (in addition) just came back from a long, painful injury.
Djere and Evans are pretty even... close ranking, both played a good match and lost.
Arnaldi and Gojo... very close too. Arnaldi slightly higher in the ranking but one was gassed from a long 5 sets vs Fils. Gojo didn't drop a set and was fresh.
Theorically, a fresh Fritz (who BTW has a better ranking) is more dangerous than a zombie who could hardly walk at the end of his previous match. Let's see what happens but there is a big chance Zverev tanks the match like he did against Ruud in RG...

Let's not pretend Alcaraz's path to the SF isn't easier than Nole's. lol
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Why lol?
Muller is harder than a walkover
Zapata Mirallès (76) is harder than a guy ranked #177 who (in addition) just came back from a long, painful injury.
Djere and Evans are pretty even... close ranking, both played a good match and lost.
Arnaldi and Gojo... very close too. Arnaldi slightly higher in the ranking but one was gassed from a long 5 sets vs Fils. Gojo didn't drop a set and was fresh.
Theorically, a fresh Fritz (who BTW has a better ranking) is more dangerous than a zombie who could hardly walk at the end of his previous match. Let's see what happens but there is a big chance Zverev tanks the match like he did against Ruud in RG...

Let's not pretend Alcaraz's path to the SF isn't easier than Nole's. lol
Keep convincing yourself but it’s obvious how weak his draw has been.
 

NeutralFan

G.O.A.T.
Why lol?
Muller is harder than a walkover
Zapata Mirallès (76) is harder than a guy ranked #177 who (in addition) just came back from a long, painful injury.
Djere and Evans are pretty even... close ranking, both played a good match and lost.
Arnaldi and Gojo... very close too. Arnaldi slightly higher in the ranking but one was gassed from a long 5 sets vs Fils. Gojo didn't drop a set and was fresh.
Theorically, a fresh Fritz (who BTW has a better ranking) is more dangerous than a zombie who could hardly walk at the end of his previous match. Let's see what happens but there is a big chance Zverev tanks the match like he did against Ruud in RG...

Let's not pretend Alcaraz's path to the SF isn't easier than Nole's. lol

Yes Fritz, Shelton are better than Z and Med , players who have given Novak trouble here and one has played the US open final while another has won and played another final. Sure! Djoko b 0ts are hilarious.
 

intrepidish

Hall of Fame
Why lol?
Muller is harder than a walkover
Zapata Mirallès (76) is harder than a guy ranked #177 who (in addition) just came back from a long, painful injury.
Djere and Evans are pretty even... close ranking, both played a good match and lost.
Arnaldi and Gojo... very close too. Arnaldi slightly higher in the ranking but one was gassed from a long 5 sets vs Fils. Gojo didn't drop a set and was fresh.
Theorically, a fresh Fritz (who BTW has a better ranking) is more dangerous than a zombie who could hardly walk at the end of his previous match. Let's see what happens but there is a big chance Zverev tanks the match like he did against Ruud in RG...

Let's not pretend Alcaraz's path to the SF isn't easier than Nole's. lol

Surely this has to be some sort of intentional comedy....
 

Pheasant

Legend
After watching a bunch of these matches, one has to appreciate how polished Djoker’s game is.

I am pulling for the young American. But honestly, if he takes a set off of Djoker, then that will be a win.

I have Djoker winning 6-4, 7-6, 6-2.
 

Lauren_Girl'

Professional
Keep convincing yourself but it’s obvious how weak his draw has been.

Keep convincing yourself his main rival has a more difficult draw. with a walkover in the 1st round, a #177 ghost in the 2nd round and an undead player in QF, his draw is even weaker. Not Nole's fault if Muller didn't twist his ankle and if Fritz doesn't have weapons to hurt him. At least he had a fresh, in form player against him in QF. Same can't be said for Alcaraz.
 

junior74

Talk Tennis Guru
Novak sure knows how to deal with Ben's Canadian twin, Den.

Ben got the bigger brain, so let's see.
 
Djoker has been really efficient this tournament. Djere was his scare but he came back strong.

Djoko baseline game has been at a high level just like in cincy. It’s only the serve needs to be better. I know Novak can up the serve for when it matters though. He needs in important moments here and most of the final.

Ben has did great to reach his first slam semi. He’s been serving lights at times and going for his shots on FH and BH side.

He will be aggressive but I think once djoko can neutralise that serve and get him into longer rallies he should be able to draw quite an few errors from him.

Ben might serve out his mind to get a set but I feel Novak can win this in 3 to save as much energy as he can for the war on Sunday.
 
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TennisFan436

Semi-Pro
Clean and dusted for Novak in 3. The genius that he is always studies his opponents and adapts. Shelton and his UEs will be icing on the cake.
 

chjtennis

G.O.A.T.
Other than members of Big 4, the only players that beat Djokovic have been big hitters. The only way for lesser players to beat Djokovic is either to catch him while he's having a bad day or to be absolutely focused and overpower him. Like Wawrinka has done a few times. Shelton is the type of player who can upset Djokovic. Maybe not on a consistent basis, but when he is 100% focused and keep firing big shots and aces. Sampras at his peak lost to a similar type of player Phillipoussis in Mark's home country. Same can happen. Likely outcome is a Djokovic win, but Shelton has that outside chance purely because of his style of play.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
I thought Tiafoe played shockingly bad tonight. He seemed tight and lacked his usual positive energy. I don't know if he had something physically wrong with him or the opportunity of being a big favorite to make another US Open semifinal just got to him mentally. Either way, he moved sluggishly and made way, way too many unforced errors. His serve was really poor for his standard (56% 1st serve percentage and broken 7 times against an opponent that is known to have a weaker return game).

Anyway, congrats to Shelton. He seems like a nice kid and a very good athlete. He played huge on some big points tonight, including that smoked return when he was down set point in the 3rd set breaker. He deserved to win. However, his game feels undercooked and not ready enough to handle a player of Djokovic's level. Ben's shot tolerance is low for this level and Djoker is the ultimate guy to test that aspect out.

It's pro sports, so anything can happen. As an American, I'll be rooting for a Shelton win. However, my guess is that unless Djokovic pulls up with an injury or gets sick, Novak wins this in straight sets by being a backboard and running Shelton to death. On his worst day, Novak will never play as bad as Tiafoe did today and he's definitely not going to mentally check out with an opportunity to win another Slam sitting in front of him.
 
How good is Shelton's left-handed serve?
:unsure:
It's clearly better than Fritz's right-handed serve, especially the second serve. Fritz hasn't even served that well this year: low 1st serve percentage, not that many aces. He did nothing with his serve against Ymer at Wimbledon. Fritz's serve is big but not huge like Shelton's. Shelton should get his 1st serve % higher, though.

Fritz is also a bit of a pusher, Shelton an aggressive baseliner, and Shelton's high bouncing forehands should be more difficult for Djokovic to handle than Fritz's flatter groundstrokes.

Matchup wise Shelton has a better chance against Djokovic than Fritz, but he's probably not yet ready to beat Djokovic, he's too erratic and his shot tolerance is too low.
 
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Nadal - GOAT

Hall of Fame
Shelton may just turn out to be the hero America desperately needs. He has the edge over Novak in serve and is very aggressive from the baseline. Rally tolerance and defense are definite weak points.

Now of course Novak is the overwhelming favorite but from what I have seen of Shelton, the kid has tremendous self belief and fearlessness. If he plays his best we may just see an upset and the rise of a new American hero!!
 

mightyjeditribble

Hall of Fame
If the young guy watched and became inspired by the Wimbledon final and decides to go for broke and if Djokovic gets a stomach virus, who knows?
Yes, or what if Djokovic wakes up and has simply forgotten how to play tennis? It could happen ... ;)

Seriously, of course in professional tennis anything can happen in principle - but it's really hard to see how Djokovic would lose this one. Even if he somehow has a complete off-day and only brings his D game, surely that's still enough, given all his experience, to make Shelton uncomfortable in his first GS semifinal.

Anything other than Djoker in 3 would be a surprise.
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
Yes, or what if Djokovic wakes up and has simply forgotten how to play tennis? It could happen ... ;)

Seriously, of course in professional tennis anything can happen in principle - but it's really hard to see how Djokovic would lose this one. Even if he somehow has a complete off-day and only brings his D game, surely that's still enough, given all his experience, to make Shelton uncomfortable in his first GS semifinal.

Anything other than Djoker in 3 would be a surprise.
Of course. Obviously Djoker could have a walkabout and Shelton might get a set if he's absolutely luck as hell. But yes, it should be Djoker in straights. Maybe one tiebreak.
 

mightyjeditribble

Hall of Fame
Keep convincing yourself his main rival has a more difficult draw. with a walkover in the 1st round, a #177 ghost in the 2nd round and an undead player in QF, his draw is even weaker. Not Nole's fault if Muller didn't twist his ankle and if Fritz doesn't have weapons to hurt him. At least he had a fresh, in form player against him in QF. Same can't be said for Alcaraz.
That's pretty funny.

I mean, I don't think anyone says it is Novak's fault, but you can't deny that he's had an easy draw. Yes, he got Fritz (top 10 player), but to play one top 10 player who had never before gone before R3, and against whom he had a 7-0 h2h, is surely an easy draw.

Alcaraz has also not had a particularly hard draw so far, but his QF and SF are clearly much, much harder than anyone Djokovic has faced. Former US Open finalist Zverev, who may be getting back to his best. And former champion Medvedev, who's been the third best player this year by a big margin over the rest of the field. If it's Rublev, he's the easier SF opponent but still a four-time USO quarter-finalist, who can blast anyone off the court when he brings his game.

Alcaraz's draw is significantly harder. But Djokovic can only play who is in front of him. And we've certainly seen even easier slam runs in recent years than this one.
 
Probably Djokovic, but it will sure be more interesting to see than Djokovic vs Fritz or Djokovic vs Tiafoe. Shelton has an incredibly entertaining game and has massive potential. But I don't think that he is there yet, at THAT high level that you need to beat Djokovic in a slam.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
It's going to be quite interesting, Shelton having the run of his young career so far. Djokovic will be looking to enter lockdown mode at this stage.
 
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