Ben Shelton’s final preparations for Roland Garros 2024 hit a snag when he tumbled out of the Gonet Geneva Open on Tuesday, enduring a 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2 defeat to Flavio Cobolli in his first match of the week.

The No. 4 seed had looked to build on a solid clay swing before the second major tournament of the season, but failed to convert a set and a break lead as Cobolli turned the tables to reach his third ATP quarterfinal of the season after two hours and one minute on Center Court.

"I'm really happy for the win," Cobolli said on court. "I enjoy playing in Geneva and I really hope to come out playing as well in the next match."

Shelton is one of a slew of Americans who have effectively translated their faster-court games to clay this spring, starting the swing with his second career title in Houston and reaching back-to-back third rounds at the Mutua Madrid Open and Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

After a straight-sets loss to Zhang Zhizhen at the Foro Italico, the 21-year-old, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 14 just last month, opted to play one final warm-up event before the second major tournament of 2024, drawing Cobolli after a first-round bye.


At 22, Cobolli ranks among a horde of in-form Italians, having started the season with a breakthrough run to the third round of the 2024 Australian Open. Following that up with a third-round run in Madrid, Cobolli pushed American Sebastian Korda to three sets at home in Rome before heading to Geneva, where he defeated former Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev in straight sets to book the second-round meeting with Shelton.

"This year, I've played against a lot of lefties so I like to play lefties," Cobolli joked after the match. "You saw today!"

Though rain interrupted action on Monday, Shelton hit through the slow conditions with his heavy first serve and forehand, scoring the lone break of the opening set to serve it out in 38 minutes. Shelton carried that momentum into the second, breaking in the third game and serving his way to a 4-2 lead before Cobolli made his first move in the match, pushing the American through a marathon eighth game.

Shelton saved three break points but Cobolli outfoxed him on the fourth, tracking his serve and volley with a well-angled pass to level the set at four games apiece.

Cobolli made another push when he turned reversed a 30-0 deficit to pull up a set point; Shelton saved it with a big serve and navigated another long game to force a tiebreaker.

In a stunning reversal, Cobolli stormed through the Sudden Death, dropping just one point and landing an unreturnable serve to ensure a deciding set.

Cobolli grew stronger as the third set got underway, scoring another break of the Shelton serve and saved two break points in the next game to consolidate.

After serving and volleying for much of the match, Shelton retreated to the baseline as the match reached its critical phase and Cobolli took full advantage, nabbing an insurance break off a double fault.

In full flow serving for the match, Cobolli slid into a phenomenal forehand winner and struck an ace to bring up three match points; Shelton saved one but Cobolli ended the contest with one last ace to book a quarterfinal clash with Kazakh Alexander Shevchenko. Shevchenko advanced into the last eight via walkover from Emil Ruusuvuori.