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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday September 7, 2023

Ben Shelton is a super quick study on the Grand Slam stage. In his second main draw appearance at the majors he reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

Tennis Express

After that magical moment he embarked on a period of discovery, cutting his teeth on the ATP Tour as he traveled to Europe and played the clay and grass court swings for the first time.

Though Shelton struggled to find his footing, and didn’t win back-to-back matches at tour-level for nearly eight months, he experienced life on the tour at full force, and will no doubt benefit from the experience in years to come.

Nevertheless, Shelton’s inability to meet the lofty expectations that he created with his performance in Melbourne, left some doubting his talents.

Not only did the 20-year-old take notice, he also took motivation.

On Tuesday night Shelton defeated tenth-seeded Frances Tiafoe to become the youngest American man to reach the US Open semifinals since Michael Chang in 1990.

Ranked 47, he is the only unseeded player remaining in either singles draw at the Open.

Shelton told reporters that he uses skepticism as fuel earlier this week, and it’s clear that he loves playing with a chip on his shoulder.

“I'd be lying if I say I don't see it,” he said of criticism that surfaces on social media. “But I'm not a guy who gets frightened or scared by comments on social media. I'm someone that when people are saying too many nice things about me, that's when I get a little soft.”

As it turns out, Shelton responds well to the haters, and welcomes the challenge.

“When people are saying negative things about me, that just drives me. It's not something that I ever worry about,” he said. “If I go to sleep at night thinking about it, it's more anger than me being sad. That helps me get out of bed and go to work every single day, work hard to get to where I want to be.

“I like seeing those comments sometimes or messages or doubters. I think that it's something that helps fuel me.”