Australian Open: Shelton juggling school with grand slam hopes

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Ben Shelton is juggling revision for exams with his hopes of going all the way at the Australian Open.

Shelton beat fellow American J.J. Wolf to set up a quarter-final tie with Tommy Paul – another compatriot – in Melbourne.

The 20-year-old is the lowest-ranked American player to reach a grand slam quarter-final since Todd Martin at the US Open 2000 and the lowest at the Australian Open since Michael Chang in 1996.

This trip Down Under is Shelton's first venture outside the United States, and while focusing on his budding tennis career, he is also taking a general business degree, learning via online classes.

"No exams yet, so it's going to get interesting when my exam dates might conflict with some of my matches," Shelton quipped. "A few assignments here and there. Pretty easy stuff.

"I'm taking classes at a bit slower pace than I was when I was full time in school. I don't have too difficult of a workload.

"It's very manageable while I'm playing tennis. So far in January I haven't had any problems or conflicts.

"I really want to get my degree. It's something that's important to me. That's something that I'm going to stick to and continue to do."

Shelton is one of three American players to have reached the quarters – the others Paul and Sebastian Korda.

It is the first time since the 2005 US Open that three American male players have reached the last eight at a major. It is the first time it has happened in Melbourne since 2000.

"It's definitely a surprise. I got on the plane with no expectations," Shelton said.

"I know that it's very hard to adjust to Australia from the United States just with the jet lag, time change and everything.

"It being my first time, never being out of the United States, I knew it would be a struggle.

"I think it has helped me a little bit, not having that expectation or the feeling that I have to perform, but being able to just go out there, be myself and play free. I think that's been a big contribution to my success.

"Each match that I've won here has felt the same. It's a mixture of joy, relief. I just have that feeling of ecstasy. When the last ball lands, I did it. To be able to do that on this stage four times in a row, that feeling over and over again, has been pretty cool."