Ben Shelton
Ben Shelton is through to the 2023 men's single's US Open semi-final after defeating fellow American Frances Tiafoe in four sets. Mike Segar/Reuters

One of the major stories of the 2023 US Open so far has been the success of 20-year-old American, Ben Shelton. In just his second appearance at Flushing Meadows, he has managed to overcome some of the top-ranked stars in the men's single game to advance to the semi-finals, taking place on Friday.

After defeating fellow American and the 14th seed, Tommy Paul in the round of 16, Shelton was set for a tough matchup late on Tuesday night against another fellow American, Frances Tiafoe, the 10th seed. Tiafoe is regarded as one of the rising stars in men's tennis and was viewed as the favourite against Shelton.

However, even Tiafoe could not halt the amazing run that Shelton has been on at this year's US Open, as the 20-year-old defeated his compatriot in four sets to reach his first-ever Grand Slam semi-final. Shelton was able to mastermind a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2 win at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with a double-break in the opening set placing him up well for glory on the night.

Tiafoe was able to respond well in the second set as he broke Shelton and looked to be regaining his rhythm. After the 10th seed levelled the match with a win in the second set, the match truly began to catch fireworks as the third set proved to be one of the highlights of this year's tournament.

Both players managed to break one another three times each during the first eight games of the third set. This led the set to a tie-break, which went back and forth before Shelton was able to hold his nerve and win the tie-break 9-7.

Coming out on top in the tie-break was crucial for Shelton as it gave him all the momentum which he needed for the fourth set. The 20-year-old started fast in the fourth set as he broke Tiafoe in the opening game, before breaking him again to race to a 5-2 lead, then the underdog held his serve for the final game to win the match-clinching set.

It was a historic night at Arthur Ashe Stadium, given it was the first time in the Open Era (from 1968 onwards) that a major quarter-final was contested between two men of African-American descent. Also, Shelton has now become the youngest American since 1992 to reach the final four, with Michael Chang achieving the same feat three decades ago.

Shelton's success at the tournament means he is going to go from being ranked 47th in the ATP rankings, up to 19th place.

The young star will not be able to bask in his stunning victory over Tiafoe for long however, as he now has to prepare for a semi-final clash against three-time US Open champion and 23-time Grand Slam winner, Novak Djokovic. This will present the ultimate test for Shelton, as nothing compares to coming up against one of the sport's all-time greats, who is still as motivated as ever.

Djokovic secured a US Open semi-final spot by comfortably overcoming American ninth seed, Taylor Fritz, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. It has mostly been a smooth-sailing tournament for Djokovic, as other than a severe third-round scare to fellow Serbian, Laslo Djere, where he came from two sets down to win, he has not dropped any other sets.

Djokovic's record against American players at the US Open is cause for concern for Shelton as the Serbian is a perfect 12-0 against them. Djokovic's last US Open success came five years ago when he defeated Juan Martin del Potro in the final, so the 36-year-old will be eager to win his fourth title and add to his 23 Grand Slams.

The two remaining quarter-finals in the men's singles competition will see 2021 US Open champion, Daniil Medvedev, take on Andrey Rublev. Also, the reigning champion at Flushing Meadows and current Wimbledon champion, Carlos Alcaraz, will go up against Alexander Zverev, with the winner of the two matches facing off in the other semi-final.

The final remaining two players will battle it out on Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium to see who will be crowned the 2023 US Open Men's Singles champion. Many are expecting it to be between Alcaraz and Djokovic, the world's two best-ranked players, in a repeat of this year's epic Wimbledon final that Alcaraz won in five sets.