February 16th, 2016

ATP Delray Blog Day 2: American Tennis Break-Out Edition


Noah Rubin (right) shakes hands with Sam Groth after the upset

It’s only February and U.S. men’s tennis is already coming of age in 2016.

Following Taylor Fritz’s startling run to the Memphis final last Sunday (where he was serving at 3-0 in the first set against Kei Nishikori before falling 6-4, 6-4), young American players are making their mark at the ATP Delray Beach Open.

Early Tuesday afternoon, American wild card Noah Rubin raised eyebrows when the 19 year old upset Sam Groth 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8).

“I kept looking at that Porsche [parked in the corner of the court] and thought, ‘I want that,” said Rubin on how he pulled out the third-set breaker. Rubin weathered some enormous serving from Groth, who registered 140+ m.p.h. on the service gun.

“One [serve] hit the line judge in the face and it couldn’t have felt good, she took it like a champ,” said Rubin, who was making his Delray tournament debut.

In terms of being pushed by the results of his contemporaries and gaining confidence, Rubin says he is good on pushing himself.


The kids from the Delray Beach Tennis Patrons NJTL visit the USTA Florida booth

“I didn’t have any lack on confidence before Taylor [Fritz] got to the Memphis final,” Rubin said. “Obviously Taylor has stepped up tremendously. [American] players really motivate each other without thinking about it — I don’t think we’ve had that for a while.”

The American hits kept coming into the afternoon Tuesday as Florida’s Austin Krajicek advanced into the second round when No. 1 seed Kevin Anderson retired after the first set with a right shoulder injury, No. 6 seed Steve Johnson edged Australian John Millman 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(8), Rajeev Ram upset No. 2 seed Bernard Tomic 7-6(3), 6-1, No. 7 seed Donald Young won when Mikhail Kukushkin retired with Young leading 7-6(3), 3-0, and Sam Querrey outlasted Thiemo de Bakker 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

Just on court at 6 p.m. are the former world No. 1 junior and last week’s Memphis finalist Fritz against fellow American Tim Smyczek.

In tonight’s featured match the 23-year-old American Denis Kudla, who earlier in the week hosted a Twitter chat, takes on former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine is making his first appearance of 2016 after wrist issues that saw him play in only two events last year.