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LI's Noah Rubin faces Mikhail Kukushkin Tuesday in return to U.S. Open

Noah Rubin throws his shoe into the crowd

Noah Rubin throws his shoe into the crowd after defeating John Isner during the Citi Open tennis tournament in Washington on Aug. 2, 2018. Credit: AP/Andrew Harnik

Noah Rubin makes his return to the U.S. Open, his hometown Grand Slam, on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old from Merrick earned a wild card into the Open on the strength of beating John Isner, then ranked ninth, in the second round of the ATP Tour event in Washington, D.C., at the start of August and winning two Challenger events this season. He also won the French wild-card challenge in the spring and lost to Isner in the first round at Roland Garros.

Rubin faces Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakstan, the 84th-ranked player, on Tuesday. Their match is first on Court 7 at 11 a.m. Rubin played in the Open in 2014 as a wild card after winning the Wimbledon juniors and the USTA boys title. At that Open he lost to Federico Delbonis in the first round.

He’s had a tough start to his professional career after spending a successful season at Wake Forest from 2014 to 2015.  Ankle and wrist injuries kept him off the court for significant amounts of time.

Now, all seems well and he’s at a career-high ranking of 135.

“I’m truly embracing it this year,” Rubin said. “Everyone is tough, but I’m ready to take it head on.”

His father and first coach Eric is upbeat about his son’s prospects. “He’s playing incredibly solid tennis, in a strong state of mind and he’s quite eager to begin the tourney,” he said.

New York Sports