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Merrick's Noah Rubin falls in opening round of New York Open

After winning first set in a tiebreak, Rubin lost a competitive second set and then was broken three times in deciding third set.

Noah Rubin returns to Jordan Thompson during the

Noah Rubin returns to Jordan Thompson during the first round of the NY Open ATP World Tour Tennis Tournament at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Noah Rubin’s second crack at the New York Open ultimately ended up like his first. The 24-year-old from Merrick lost to Jordan Thompson, 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-1, at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

Rubin lost to Kei Nishikori in the first round in the inaugural New York Open last February. On Monday, after two highly competitive sets, Rubin had his right shoulder and arm worked on by the trainer but never got up to speed again. He was broken three times in the deciding set in a match that lasted 2:35.

“I hurt my pec and shoulder during Cleveland [two weeks ago] during a doubles match,” he said. “I thought I would get over it. It was why I withdrew from Dallas. Hopefully it’s not too severe. That’s always the concern right now. I’ll take care of it and see how things turn out.”

Rubin had a break point in the seventh game of the first set and failed to convert, knocking a big forehand into the net. Then he was put to the test in the 10th game after going up 40-0 on his serve. But two straight errors and a net cord winner for Thompson brought the game to deuce. With Rubin holding an ad point, a video replay showed Thompson’s shot to be in and it went to deuce again. From there, Rubin fought off two set points to level the score at 5-5.

He was pressured again in the 12th game, fighting off another set point and sending the set to a tiebreak.

And there the drama built to a crescendo.

Rubin went down 6-2 and faced four set points. He canceled all of them. He faced another set point at 7-6 and fended that off. He hit a forehand winner for his second set point of the match, and it was all he needed when Thompson couldn’t handle a volley.

Rubin was broken for the first time in the match in the 11th game of the second set. Rubin had saved nine break points up until then. Thompson went on to take the second set.

Rubin has had to play the Challenger trail in search of enough points to qualify for regular ATP Tour events as he pursues a career after leaving Wake Forest in 2015. He was given a wild card in the New York Open for a second straight year. He could have used a few more points here to get his ranking up from 152.

It’s another loss in New York for Rubin, which is deeply disappointing.

“Whether it was nerves, it always happens in New York for me,” he said. “It’s always a thing. I get twitches in the legs which lead to cramps a bit. I can’t figure out what to do with that. It’s been a problem in the U.S. Open and obviously here.”

Notes & quotes: John Isner is a big fantasy hockey fan. He’s got Islander Josh Bailey on his team, but no Rangers. He took defenseman Neal Pionk at the start of the season but dropped him when he got injured. “The Islanders are surprising,” said Isner, whose first match is Wednesday. “I follow the NHL religiously. I know [the Islanders’] Valtteri Filppula from our days in Tampa. I think Barry Trotz should be coach of the year.” . . . Not all players are thrilled with the black courts at the New York Open. Tennys Sandgren, who lost his opening match to Paolo Lorenzi, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-2, wasn’t happy with the surface. “It’s strange speed, strange bounces,” Sandgren said. “They try hard to make it as good as they can, but it’s not a particularly great court. Sticky surface, the ball fuzz stays on it pretty good, so sometimes you get a slippery surface. It’s odd.”

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