Noah Rubin is now getting ready for the biggest match of his young career.
After beating fellow American and friend Bjorn Fratangelo in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Monday, he now faces the ultimate foe — Roger Federer. They will play the third match of the day session at Rod Laver Arena.
The 20-year-old Rubin, from Merrick, defeated Fratangelo, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, in a little more than three hours. Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, beat Jurgen Melzer, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Federer, 35, is coming back from knee surgery that kept him out of action the second half of last season.
After Federer’s win, he was asked if he knew anything about Rubin.
“Almost nothing,” he said. “Did he play here last year?”
Rubin played in the Australian Open last year as a wild-card entry and upset the No. 17 seed, Benoit Paire, in the first round. By coincidence, Federer is the 17th seed this year, his ranking falling because of his forced absence from the game.
Federer, who played at night, watched some of Rubin’s match. “Today I saw a little bit while I was waiting for my match on the mini screen,” he said. “How much do you see? You see a little bit, but you don’t see the ball.
“I know he’s a baseliner. He makes a lot of shots. I guess it’s not a bad thing for me. I know it’s probably more on my racket rather than playing a big server. Regardless, you know, got to manage any kind of player in this draw to move forward.”
Rubin is ranked No. 197 in the world and won three qualifying matches to get into the Australian this year. It is the third Grand Slam appearance of his career, following last year’s Australian and the 2014 U.S. Open.
Serena wins opener. Six-time champion Serena Williams, the No. 2 seed, beat Belinda Bencic, 6-4, 6-3, on Tuesday in a first-round match. Also advancing was fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova.