Long Island’s Noah Rubin won his opening U.S. Open qualifying match on Tuesday, downing Liang-Chi Huang of Chinese Taipei, 6-2, 7-5, on Court 17 of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to advance to the second stage of qualifying for the main draw.
Rubin snagged the momentum early, picking up a break point to take a 4-2 advantage in the first set. After consolidating it with a hold, a missed forehand wide from Huang gave Rubin the opening set on his first set point.
Huang came out firing in the second set, breaking Rubin’s serve and consolidating that break with a hold to build a 2-0 advantage. Rubin responded by coming back from 0-30 down in the following game to trim the deficit to 1-2, and the match would see an exchange of holds for the next six games.
Down 4-5, Rubin turned his game up a notch. Needing a break point to stay in the set, the 19-year old did just that, saving one set point and winning the game at deuce to take back the break advantage and even the set at 5-5.
With momentum on his side and his game turned up, Rubin put the finishing touches on this one. After holding serve, he broke one last time to complete the straight-set victory and advance to the second round of qualifying.
“It was not my highest level of tennis, but under the pressure of the first-round at the Open, in my backyard, I believe I handled myself well and professionally,” said Rubin. “I felt the best towards the end of the second set and felt no problem going three sets if necessary.”
The crowd on Court 17 was certainly behind the American and Rubin’s coach, Lawrence Kleger, director of tennis at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy at Sportime Randall’s Island, said he felt that Rubin handled the situation perfectly.
“Last year, the temperature was exactly the same and the situation was exactly the same,” said Kleger. “I think the crowd last year put a little pressure on him, but this year, he took a different approach and used the crowd to keep him going. I think he came in this year embracing that crowd.”
At 3-4 down in the second set, Rubin had to call for a trainer to work on something with his leg. He rebounded nicely and won four of the final five games of the match to close it out in straight sets.
“I think it was unbelievably gritty of him to turn it around,” said Eric Rubin, Noah’s father. “He rarely calls for the trainer. But either way, he knows this is the U.S. Open and he got back out there, came back and did amazing. Just a really gritty performance.”
Rubin moves on to play Guido Pella of Argentina, the 91st ranked player in the world, who beat Germany’s Andreas Beck 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.
The two will meet on Thursday, giving Rubin and his team an off day on Wednesday to get prepared for Pella.
“We’ll practice a little bit,” said Kleger. “We got some things to go over that might get him better prepared for the next round.”
Credit all photos to Brian Coleman