The 30-year-old Giron, who beat top-seeded American Frances Tiafoe in the quarterfinals, is seeking his first ATP Tour title Sunday in his second trip to a final. Paul’s only title came in 2021 in Stockholm.
Paul won the final four games of the first set before a break early in the second set held up against the 21-year-old Shelton in the hardcourt event on the SMU campus.
Giron took a 4-0 lead in the first set a day after going up 5-0 in a straight-set win over Tiafoe, who was the highest-ranked player in the tournament at No. 14.
The first break of the second set came when Giron made a lunging save with a forehand, then ran down Mannarino’s volley for a backhand crosscourt passing shot and a 5-3 lead.
Giron, who hasn’t lost a service game in four matches in the tournament, had little trouble closing out the match on his serve.
With three victories over seeded opponents, Giron has a chance to surpass his career-best ranking of 49th from 2022, when Giron lost his only previous final in San Diego.
Giron reached the semifinals in Dallas two years ago, losing a three-setter to Jenson Brooksby while having match points. The final two sets went to tiebreakers.
“That stuck with me, and that’s hard,” Giron said. “I have experience. I know what it’s like to lose. I know what it’s like to win. Having a big win yesterday was awesome, and I’m really, really happy to be able to come back today.”
Paul reached two finals last year, losing in a grass-court event at Eastbourne and a hardcourt tournament in Acapulco.
The 26-year-old Paul converted three of eight break points against the hard-serving Giron while saving all three break points he faced.
The 15th-ranked Paul, who stopped a six-match losing streak against top 20 opponents, had dropped his previous two matches against Shelton, who is No. 16.
“Obviously, his serve is unbelievable,” Paul said. “These courts kind of help me a little bit. You don’t have to jump in quite as high. Kind of kept the ball in my strike zone. I knew I had to play a lot of balls in the court.”