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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday April 3, 2024

Ben Shelton

Ben Shelton took the long road to victory on Wednesday, edging Belgium's Zizou Bergs in three sets.

Photo Source: Matthew Calvis

When it comes to playing at the ATP level on clay, there’s nowhere to go but up for American Ben Shelton.

Tennis Express

The top seed entered the Houston draw with a 2-7 lifetime record on the surface and on Wednesday he ticked that winning percentage up a notch with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Belgium’s Zizou Bergs to reach his first quarterfinal on clay.

Shelton, 21 years of age and ranked 16, will face fellow American Brandon Nakashima in the quarterfinals. The 22-yeasr-old World No.92 raced past Australia’s Rinky Hijikata, 6-1, 6-4 to set up a first-time meeting with Shelton.

Shelton, seeded first at an ATP event for the second time, improved to 12-7 on the season and reached his eighth career quarterfinal on tour.

He saved seven of nine break points across the two hour and 25-minute encounter, and converted three of 16 break points against the World No.11.

“Just really happy to get through it,” Shelton told the crowd. “It definitely was a long one.”

In other action on Wednesday at the River Oaks Country Club, No.2-seeded Francisco Cerundolo was upset by Italy’s Luciano Darderi, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(4). Darderi will face either JJ Wolf or Marcos Giron in the quarterfinals.


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