US Open star Ben Shelton takes evasive action as ball kid interrupts play

Ben Shelton cruised into the fourth round of the US Open on Friday with a routine win over Aslan Karatsev, although there was nothing routine about an incident involving a ball kid during the second set. Karatsev was serving for the second set 5-3 up with Shelton looking to get a break back.

The American was moving back and forth across the baseline to stay in the point when his opponent pulled off a smash to send Shelton scampering once more to his right. Shelton clearly felt he had a chance of getting the unlikely return as he ran towards the back of the court.

But he was interrupted by the ball kid at the right of the court jumping up to grab the ball. Shelton seemed unaware that the ball kid had already begun his attempt to grab the ball while he was still running to try and make the return.

The bizarre incident led to Shelton asking about his ability to challenge for ‘hindrance’. The 20-year-old held his arms wide open with a perplexed look on his face as he began to walk up to the umpire.

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“Wait, am I allowed to challenge hindrance?” Shelton asked. “And then what, you’ll look at the video? How many of those do I have?”

The umpire confirmed that each player has three wrong challenges per set. Despite confirmation that he could challenge the incident, Shelton opted against doing so.

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The American went on to lose the game with Karatsev drawing the match level at 1-1 in sets. But Shelton found another gear heading into the third set as he took back control.

And he stepped it up even further in the fourth set to bagel his opponent and reach the fourth round. Shelton now faces a rematch of his Australian Open quarter-final opponent Tommy Paul with the latter coming out on top on that occasion and he’s hoping for a different outcome on this occasion.

He said: “I think I panicked a little bit, pressed early in the match, and he kind of got on top of me and was the frontrunner from there. I hope to do a little bit better job of that this time around.”

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