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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Shanghai's annual New Year's Eve fireworks shows command global attention.

Look for explosive shotmakers Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton to light it up when they collide in an all-American Shanghai quarterfinal.   

More: Nadal Returns to Practice Court

"It's going to be exciting for everyone, not only for me, I'm sure the fans are going to love it," Korda said after defusing dangerous Francisco Cerundolo 7-5, 7-6(6). "Hopefully, the best player wins on the day."

The left-handed Shelton slammed 15 aces—and banged brutal body serves—stinging world No. 4 Jannik Sinner 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) to snap the Beijing champion's seven-match winning streak at the Rolex Shanghai Masters today.

The biggest win of Shelton's career earned him a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" sung to him by Shanghai fans—and a first-time clash vs. Korda with a semifinal spot on the line.

The first of what may well be many future clashes between the pair leaves both men pumped for this Shanghai showdown.

"I'm really excited whenever Americans are going deep in the draw, it's something really cool for me to see, so one of us will be in the semifinals here in Shanghai, which is awesome," Shelton said. "But, yeah, looking forward to it. Sebe's a great guy and playing really, really good form. He beat the No. 2 player in the world, No. 3 player in the world, Medvedev, and arguably one of the best hard court seasons on tour. I think that shows how well Sebe's playing and, yeah, I'm really looking forward to a battle."

Both Shelton and Korda are the sons of former ATP pros and both have summoned some of their most dynamic tennis on the sport's biggest stages.

n a bold all-court performance last January, Korda broke Daniil Medvedev in his opening service game of each set, sending the 2022 Australian Open finalist packing in a superb 7-6(7), 6-3, 7-6(4) Australian Open triumph. The 26th-seeded Korda beat Medvedev again in the Shanghai third round for his first career Top 5 win and a second career Masters 1000 quarterfinal appearance.

The 21-year-old Shelton, who had never been outside of the United States prior to traveling to Australia for the 2023 Australian Open last January, powered to the AO quarterfinals and knocked off two Top-15 ranked compatriots—Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe—en route to the US Open semifinals last month.

Now, both Korda and Shelton are playing for Masters 1000 semifinal in Shanghai.

"Maybe I’m addicted to playing on the big stages," Shelton said after toppling the sixth-seeded Sinner. "I definitely haven't had a normal upbringing in the tennis world.

"First year on Tour it’s kind of been a little backwards figuring things out as we go. I’m just going to try to keep building and improving each and every week."

Shanghai has been a Masters launching pad for American men this week as both Tommy Paul and JJ Wolf are still alive and could face off in an all-American quarterfinal if Wolf beats Ugo Humbert and Paul defeats Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.

Photo credit: Fred Lee/Getty