Noah Rubin was hoping to spend his 20th birthday playing in the final of the Delray Beach Open on Sunday. But veteran Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who is 10 years older than Rubin, conquered the swirling wind and the New York teen in the second round of the tournament on Thursday afternoon.
Rubin led 2-0, 40-0 on Chardy’s serve, but the Frenchman saved three break points and went on to win 12 of the next 16 games to advance to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-2 victory
Chardy will play either qualifier John-Patrick Smith of Australia or Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, playing in his first ATP tournament in 11 months after wrist surgery.
Despite the loss, Rubin said he learned valuable lessons as he continues his first year on the pro tour. After playing one season at Wake Forest — and reaching the NCAA championship match — Rubin turned pro in June of last year. He made history at the Australian Open last month when, as a 328th-ranked wild card, he was the lowest-ranked player ever in the main draw.
He wound up pulling off a huge first-round upset of 17th-seeded Benoit Paire, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5).
Earlier this week, he withstood 25 aces and saved three match points to beat Sam Groth 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6) in his opening match in Delray Beach.
“I haven’t had too much experience at this level yet, and that’s what it comes down to in the end,’’ Rubin said by phone after Thursday’s match. “I will take all these experiences for the next time out because I’m young. I believe I can hang with these guys.”
Rubin said he has never lacked self-confidence, but the victory in Australia was significant.
“I do believe that match proved to a lot of people that I deserve to be here,’’ he said. “I showed people that even though I went to a year of school, that doesn’t stop the fact that I’m here to play pro tennis now.”
Rubin wrestled with the decision to turn pro or go to college.
“It was a tough decision for me, but I was looking at the long run,’’ he said. “I’m here to play pro tennis, but for my own sake, I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket and I do think one year of school helped me progress as a player and a person. It got me ready for the pro life.’’
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald