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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, September 6, 2023

NEW YORK—Slapping successive double faults put Ben Shelton in a bleak set-point bind.

A bold Shelton brought the brain damage drive to ignite the biggest win of his career.

Murray: Major Runs May Be Done

Down set point in the third-set tiebreaker, the 20-year-old Shelton blasted a 105 mph forehand rocket down that scalded both lines.

That jolting strike saved set point sparking Shelton to a stirring 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-2 conquest of compatriot Frances Tiafoe and into the US Open semifinals.

Playing just the fifth major of his career, Shelton has emerged as a star of this Flushing Meadows fortnight becoming the youngest American man to reach the US Open semifinals since a 20-year-old Michael Chang in 1992.

Shrugging off consecutive double faults, Shelton unloaded that laser forehand down the line that completely changed the match. Tiafoe missed a forehand on the next point handing Shelton set point at 8-7.

The explosive Shelton forced another error to take the third-set tiebreaker and break the 2022 semifinalist's spirit.

Afterward, Shelton summed up the match-altering forehand simply: Turn off his brain and let his forehand do damage.

"Sometimes you got to shut off the brain, close your eyes and just swing," Shelton told ESPN's Brad Gilbert afterward. "And maybe it was a little bit of that down set point ended up working out.

"Some may say clutch but I don’t know about all that."

The left-handed Shelton celebrated his biggest career win miming hanging up a phone.

The former all American at Florida will try to dial up more shotmaking brilliance in Friday's semifinals against 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic.

Earlier, Djokovic dismantled American No. 1 Taylor Fritz 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 raising his US Open quarterfinal record to 13-0.

It is Djokovic’s 47th career Grand Slam semifinal—putting him one ahead of rival Roger Federer for the all-time record—and served as a prelude to the Serbian superstar facing another American, Shelton, in the semifinals.

"Ben Shelton has been serving some bombs this tournament," Djokovic said. "When his serve is on, he's very difficult player to play against, especially because he's lefty, as well."

Photo credit: Simon Bruty/USTA/US Open