Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton Odds, Picks, Prediction | US Open Semifinal Preview

Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton Odds, Picks, Prediction | US Open Semifinal Preview article feature image

Tim Clayton, Elsa/Getty. Pictured: Novak Djokovic and Ben Shelton.

Djokovic vs Shelton Odds

Djokovic Odds-1600
 Shelton Odds+850
Over/Under31.5 (-110 / -110)
Time | How to WatchFriday, 3 p.m. ET | ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. For tips on how to watch US Open, click here.

Our first semifinal of the day on Friday at the US Open will see fast-rising American Ben Shelton contest his first career Grand Slam semifinal match against a guy who will be playing the 47th of his career — an all-time record.

Will the experience of Novak Djokovic prevail, or will the upstart Shelton be able to make this one a match?

Let's get into this contest and preview Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton in the first US Open semifinal.

How to Practice Responsible Gaming Habits

Djokovic Cruising Despite Not Reaching His Best

It's hard to say Djokovic has played his best tennis at this event. While he's dropped just two sets en route to the semifinals, his quarterfinal win over Taylor Fritz wasn't without its twists and turns. The Serb's level was low for his standards, and despite several opportunities to get into the match, Fritz played every big point poorly and made careless errors.

It should be said that if it were Shelton in Fritz's position, Djokovic may have had to dig deep in a four- or five-set match.

Still, the fact remains that Djokovic has now won 10 straight matches dating back to his victory in Cincinnati, which saw him defeat Carlos Alcaraz in one of the most memorable matches of the season. His loss to Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final is the only defeat he's suffered since he was bounced from the Rome Masters by Holger Rune in the semifinals. He's 23-1 since that loss, and he's dropped just eight sets along the way.

Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for sports bettors
The best betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

Shelton Quickly Becoming a Star

Signing up at FanDuel? Get $200 in bonus bets and $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket now with the latest FanDuel promo code.

If you don't know who Ben Shelton is by now, you might be living under a rock. The 20-year-old left the Florida Gators just 13 months ago to turn pro, a decision that was immediately justified when he reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open back in January.

Shelton has had a miserable season following that run, failing to win back-to-back matches at the ATP level and struggling on clay and grass courts, something that was understandable given his upbringing in the United States but which seemed to indicate he'd need more time to develop.

Well, Shelton shook off a poor record and has produced some of his very best tennis here at the US Open. His talent is exceptional: His serve is one of the biggest in the world, clocking in at 149 mph in this tournament, and his forehand can produce a winner from anywhere on the court. His return has long been seen as his greatest weakness, but out of nowhere he's begun to read serves, getting them back with exceptional depth, and he has even produced some big-time return winners.

Shelton may be just 20 and lack Grand Slam experience, but his fitness does not seem to be of concern here despite all the tennis he's played over the last two weeks. His confidence and attitude give him the belief he can beat anyone in the world. He has the weapons and the mind to be one of the very best players in the world, and it no longer seems a question of if, but rather when, he will be a top-five player and Grand Slam champion.

Djokovic vs Shelton Pick

Of the 47 Grand Slam semifinals that Djokovic has contested, this one may be unique. Shelton seemed to treat Djokovic like any other opponent when talking to the press following his win over Tiafoe, and he couldn't seem to remember many times he had even watched Djokovic play a match. He admitted he wasn't much of a tennis-watcher growing up, and that gives him an advantage over many other challengers who have faced Djokovic over the years.

The fearlessness of Shelton here makes an upset very possible. I truly believe his mental fortitude is already superior to most on tour, and that is key when facing Djokovic. Most know once Djokovic raises his level that he is impossible to beat, but Shelton will never feel as though the match isn't on his racquet.

It sure seems like he'd be right about that, too. His incredible serve and forehand combination has penetrated the excellent defense of Tommy Paul and Tiafoe in recent rounds, and while he goes for small margins, he seems to have no problems producing winners on low-percentage shots with regularity.

I just think by now, it's pretty clear Shelton will soon be in the world's top five. His rise resembles that of Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune, who today would not be +900 underdogs to Djokovic. If he goes on to achieve the things those two have in the next year or two, would it really be that shocking to look back on this match and see that Shelton had won it, or at the very least taken a set or two off of the World No. 2?

We have seen Djokovic struggle at this stage of a Grand Slam many times against big hitters like Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas. He's prevailed in almost all of those, but it wasn't until deep into the match, once he took his opponent's legs, that he was able to come out the victor.

I do think that Djokovic will eventually out-grind Shelton, who was already in physical pain against Tiafoe, but it's foolish to assume this will be one-way traffic. Shelton will come out hot here, and I expect him to take one of the first two sets, showcasing the improvements he's made on the return.

I'd also point out that Shelton's playing style is very unique, and left-handedness is always difficult for players to deal with given the lack of lefties on Tour. Facing Shelton for the first time, it's only logical that it will take Djokovic a little while to figure out his opponent and his quirkiness out there. Jack Draper, Holger Rune and even Enzo Couacaud have taken sets off of Djokovic in their first encounters over the years. What makes Shelton any different?

The American takes a set here, and then who knows? Maybe he wins this match outright with a head of steam in front of a raucous crowd in New York.

Pick: Shelton +2.5 sets (+130 via DraftKings)

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.