Noah Rubin of Merrick earned the biggest win of his career on Thursday, defeating No. 2 seed and No. 9 ranked John Isner at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.
The 22-year-old defeated America’s high ranking player, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the second round. Rubin, who earned a wild card to the French Open in June, had lost to Isner in three close sets at Roland Garros in the first round.
Because thunderstorms postponed the Rubin-Isner match from Wednesday, Rubin was forced to play his third-round match late Thursday night. He lost to Andrey Rublev, 6-3, 6-2.
Still, this was a milestone for Rubin, his first victory over a top 10 player. “I was just grinding every point out, making sure I capitalized on the points I didn’t do at the French Open,” said Rubin, who even had a highlight-reel play that was No. 1 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 list. “I was really keen on those big moments and just had fun with it.”
A weary-looking Isner hit serves in the low 90s mph and was broken twice by the speedy Rubin, who has reached an all-time high ranking of 152. Isner was coming off a title in Atlanta last week and a semifinal run at Wimbledon last month.
Rubin has had his share of hardship since he turned pro in 2015 after one year at Wake Forest, missing several months over two seasons with ankle and wrist injuries.
He has been gradually working himself back up the ladder, and has won two Challenger tour events this season. He went through qualifying to get into the main draw at Atlanta in July and lost to Nick Kyrgios in the second round. He got a wildcard into the main draw at Washington. He also got a wild card into the inaugural New York Open at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum back in February where he lost in the first round to Kei Nishikori.
“He’s played a lot of top players and seems like he’s always competitive in the first set but loses it,” said his father Eric, his original coach. “He was frustrated because he felt like he was competitive against them. But this is a journey and we said let’s win that first set and then see what happens.”
His father had made the journey to Washington on Wednesday in a rainstorm to see the match that was postponed until Thursday. He had to drive home to go back to work, so he watched it on television.
“He really put the pressure on Isner,” his father said. “Was Isner serving his best? Probably not. But he was serving well and playing well. But Noah kept his calm and focus.”