Ben Shelton impresses in Monte Carlo defeat

Ben Shelton celebrating

Former top ten player Grigor Dimitrov was impressed by Ben Shelton in the first meeting between the two players at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Tuesday.

Dimitrov needed three sets to get beyond the young American despite taking an early advantage.

The experienced Dimitrov believes that Shelton has the game to be a force on clay.

He feels that Shelton is a raw talent but one that could go a long way if he applies himself.

“I have seen him quite a bit on hard,” Dimitrov said on Shelton. “He is pretty impressive. He has such a big serve, lefty, and not afraid to take a swing. A lot of work ahead of him, especially on this surface. I don’t doubt that with his game he will do well.”

It took Dimitrov over two hours to battle past Shelton, but the Bulgarian wasn’t sweating the attritional effect of this kind of match as he believed it was a match that he just had to win.

“It is one of those matches that I just needed to go through,” Dimitrov said. “I played a lot of good tennis. There were a lot of positives to take out of that…I just want to come out and play my game. I am excited. Clay courts have always been an interesting surface for me.”

Dimitrov will next meet Czech Jiri Lehecka after the Next-Gen star overcame lucky loser Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland.

Shelton shot to prominence earlier this season thanks to a run to the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The young American says that his family help keep him grounded while his father Bryan, a former professional and college tennis coach, in particular has been a great help to his game.

In his Player’s Voice column, Shelton wrote: “There was a little bit of a celebration and my dad gave me a few days off from practice, so I was excited about that. To be able to see my family after that long month was really good, and to hear about how everyone stayed up in the middle of the night to watch my matches was pretty cool.

“My dad has a very analytical and a great tennis mind. So he gave me lots of tips on what I did well and what I can continue to work on.

“I think he does a good job of keeping me grounded and realising that there is always room for improvement.

“He is happy with a lot of the things that I was doing on court.”

Shelton looks set to reset and go again in Barcelona next week.

READ MORE: Ben Shelton one to watch after bold clay court play