Few would have penciled in Tommy Paul versus Ben Shelton as a likely quarterfinal matchup to emerge from the fourth quarter of the draw at the Australian Open. But that’s exactly what’s before us.
Paul and Shelton are the surprise packages of the year’s first Grand Slam as they reach the final eight and set up an all-American showdown for a spot in the semifinals – in what would be a first for both Americans.
As per the sportsbook exchange, Paul is the favorite at -250 while Shelton is priced at +210 on the moneyline. The games handicap is projected to 4½ games while the total is set to 39½ with the under juiced to -115 and the over to -105.
Will Paul come through as the bookmakers’ betting favorite? Or will young, up-and-comer Shelton continue his Cinderella run at the expense of his more experienced countryman?
2023 Australian Open Men’s Outrights
- Novak Djokovic -225
- Stefanos Tsitsipas +350
- Sebastian Korda +700
- Andrey Rublev +1000
- Karen Khachanov +1600
- Tommy Paul +2500
- Ben Shelton +4000
- Jiri Lehecka +5000
Paul vs Shelton: From Longshots to Contenders
Both Paul and Shelton entered the Australian Open futures markets as the quintessential longshots priced in five-digit obscurity. Few saw either one coming, even though they fell into a wide-open fourth quarter of the draw.
Now, Paul emerges as the +2500 bet while Shelton comes in as the +4000 bet to win it all. These long odds reflect the path to the final, which will see the winner of this matchup take on the winner of Novak Djokovic vs Andrey Rublev in the semifinals. [Insert dramatic shiver].
Paul Rolls into Quarters
Paul has defied the Australian Open odds to reach the quarterfinals. He opened with a straightforward win over Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1, 7-6 (6). 6-2 and then was stretched to five sets by Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina in the Round of 64, 6-2, 2-6, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4.
In the R32, Paul took out compatriot Jenson Brooksby, who upset No. 2 seed Casper Ruud in the R64. Most recently, he overcame veteran Roberto Bautista-Agut in four sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Tommy Paul does it! 🙌
The American defeats Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, to join countrymen Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton in reaching a maiden major quarterfinal.
Paul faces Shelton next, btw. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/srCUr82Bw6
— TENNIS (@Tennis) January 23, 2023
Shelton Stuns Down Under
Shelton’s first-ever trip out of the United States to compete at a major ATP level couldn’t have gone better had he scripted it for himself. The 20-year-old is proving to be a revelation and a promising talent for the future of American tennis. Then again, it’s worth noting that he hasn’t played a seeded player.
Shelton fell into a favorable section of the draw that saw seeds fall left and right, paving the way for his passage. He opened his tournament with a five-setter against Zhizhen Zhang and then took out Nicolas Jarry in straight sets in the R64.
In the R32, he overcame Australian Alexei Popyrin, who upset American and No. 8 seed Taylor Fritz in the R64.
More recently, the 20-year-old is coming off his second five-setter, beating compatriot J.J. Wolf 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 23, 2023
Paul vs Shelton Head-to-Head
This is the first-ever meeting between Paul and Shelton at an ATP level event. It’s also Shelton’s first appearance at a Grand Slam main draw event outside of the United States.
Paul vs Shelton Picks and Prediction
Shelton has captivated the imagination of tennis betting fans the world over as he becomes the first American to reach the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick. But it’s essential to keep a cool head where the youngster is concerned as the absence of top opposition in his path to the final eight is something that can’t be overlooked.
Admittedly, Paul is not seeded in Australia, but the American narrowly missed the cut. He’s a solid player and comes into the tournament on the back of one of his best seasons. Indeed, this is also an opportunity for Paul as much as it is a defining moment in Shelton’s fledgling career.
All told, this will be the toughest match for Shelton and a big ask, especially after surviving a five-setter against Wolf. On the flip side, this is a great opportunity for Paul to reach the final four of a Grand Slam and improve his ranking in the ATP. Back the experienced American to come through and advance into the semis.