DALLAS (US): (IANS Americ's Tommy Paul defeated compatriot Ben Shelton to reach the Dallas Open final. The second seed earned eight break points and converted three of them to oust the big-serving lefty 6-2, 6-4 in 79 minutes.
The No. 15 and No. 16 players in the ATP Rankings have battled in important ATP Head-to-Head matches in the past year, including last year’s Australian Open quarter-finals and the US Open fourth round. After Shelton won their past two meetings, Paul earned his revenge on Saturday night.
Paul set the tone by threatening Shelton’s serve in the first game of the match. The 26-year-old did not break immediately, but he showed his ability to put the lefty’s delivery in danger.
"H's a really tough player. Obviously his serve is unbelievable,” Paul said after the all-American clash. “These courts kind of help me a little bit. They're not jumping quite as high as some of the other courts we've played on, so kind of kept the ball in my strike zone a little bit more.
"But I knew I had to play a lot of balls in the court. That's the key, you can't give him anything or he'll take advantage. I thought I did a really good job of that, didn't serve as well as I'd like to but somehow squeaked out a lot of those service games, so that was huge."
The 2021 Stockholm champion Paul portrays a relaxed demeanour on cour saving all three break points he faced and won 44 per cent of his return points according to ATP Stats.
Paul will play countryman Marcos Giron on Sunday for the trophy. Giron defeated in-form lefty Adrian Mannarino, the fourth seed, 6-1, 6-3 to reach his second ATP Tour final.
It was his second consecutive upset after eliminating top seed Frances Tiafoe in straight sets on Thursday.