Shelton Reaches R2 In Tokyo, Japan's Mochizuki Earns First Win

  • Posted: Oct 17, 2023

Shelton Reaches R2 In Tokyo, Japan’s Mochizuki Earns First Win

Ruud advances in straight sets

Ben Shelton backed up his quarter-final run at the Rolex Shanghai Masters with a first-round win against Japan qualifier Taro Daniel on Tuesday at the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships.

Making his debut at the ATP 500, Shelton battled hard to recover from a slow start, triumphing 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) in two hours and 34 minutes. The American struck the ball cleanly off both wings in the third set, using his thunderous forehand to overpower Daniel and earn his 22nd tour-level victory of the season.

The 21-year-old will next play Australian Jordan Thompson. Shelton has enjoyed a breakthrough year on Tour, highlighted by his run to the semi-finals at the US Open.

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Japanese wild card Shintaro Mochizuki earned his first tour-level win at the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships, where he moved past Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4, 7-6(5) to delight the home fans.

The 20-year-old, who was competing in just his ninth tour-level match, demonstrated excellent court craft during the two-hour, three-minute clash. He hit an array of acute angles to pull Etcheverry wide, while he was aggressive on return, winning 52 per cent (12/23) of points on the Argentine’s second delivery.

Mochizuki will next play top seed Taylor Fritz in the second round. The defending champion defeated Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-3.

The 20-year-old Mochizuki was overcome with emotion following his win, sobbing in the chair as he took in the applause. He has tasted success earlier this year, winning an ATP Challenger Tour event in Barletta, Italy.

In other action, Casper Ruud increased his Nitto ATP Finals hopes with a 7-6(6), 6-3 win against Japanese wild card Yosuke Watanuki. The Norwegian, who advanced to the fourth round in Shanghai last week, is currently 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, 295 points behind eighth-placed Holger Rune, who occupies the final qualification spot.

Ruud is seeking his second title of the season and will next take on Marcos Giron.

Aslan Karatsev downed World No. 14 Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 7-6(4) to earn his fourth Top 20 win of the season. The 30-year-old will meet Zhizhen Zhang or Hubert Hurkacz in the second round.

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