ATP 500 TOKYO. by Leo Canaparo. Director
American young gun Ben Shelton captured his maiden ATP Tour title as he beat Aslan Karatsev 7-5 6-1
The result led Shelton to a new ATP ranking, the highest of his career, at No. 15 in the world, less than 10 months after starting the 2023 season at No. 96. He joins No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Tommy Paul, and No. 14 Frances Tiafoe to make four American men in the Top 15 for the first time since 1997.
From his career to the semifinals of the US Open, Shelton is now 14-2 in his last 16 individual matches, a streak that also includes a victory in the Laver Cup and his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal in Shanghai.
«That meant a lot to me and my team,» Shelton said about his first title, following his final 7-5, 6-1 victory over Karatsev.
«We’ve been working very hard from the start to build my game and win titles on the ATP Tour. Lately, I’ve made some deep runs. You see the great champions, they end weeks with a win. They win titles, not just reach the final. They can keep their level throughout the week. I’m not saying I’m there yet, but being able to do it for a week and play five matches in a row in Tokyo is really special.»
Shelton will look to continue his excellent late-season form this week in Vienna, where he faces a significant first-round matchup against the second seed, Jannik Sinner. Two weeks ago, Shelton defeated Sinner to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal in Shanghai.
«I’m really looking forward to the end of the year,» Shelton said, who could end his season at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, if he decides to play. «I think it’s a great opportunity for me. At the beginning of the season, I was losing early in the weeks, so my match count isn’t as high, so I feel fresh. I’m looking forward to finishing the season strong.»