Tennis: Ben Shelton opens with victory in Western & Southern Open

AP , Monday 14 Aug 2023

Ben Shelton beat Wimbledon quarterfinalist Christopher Eubanks 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday in the first of the Western & Southern Open, with the tournament's future in Cincinnati in doubt.

Ben Shelton
Ben Shelton of the United States reacts after winning a point against Christopher Eubanks of the United States during their first round match at the Western Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 13, 2023 in Mason, Ohio. AFP


Also in the first round, Adrian Mannarino eliminated fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-3, and Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka advanced with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over France’s Gregoire Barrere.

The Masters 1000 tournament’s future in Cincinnati is uncertain after billionaire Ben Navarro’s Beemok Capital Group purchased it in 2022 from the United States Tennis Association for $300 million.

Beemok is planning a $400 million, 53-acre tennis campus in Charlotte, North Carolina. The complex is expected to include 40 courts, which would help accommodate the 96 men’s and women’s players the tournament will grow to when it becomes a two-week event in 2025.

The Mason City Council has approved $15 million in improvements to the Lindner Family Tennis Center, where the tournament has been played since 1979, to try to keep the event. The Ohio House of Representatives approved adding $22.5 million to the state budget to expand and renovate the Mason tennis complex.

The tournament wouldn’t move to Charlotte until at least 2026.

The opening weekend drew a record 37,868 fans. The event has been played in Cincinnati since 1899 and is the oldest pro tournament still in the same city.

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