April 30th, 2018
Rubin, Benitez Win Tallahassee, Vero Beach USTA Pro Circuit Titles; Kids Flock to Net Generation
American Noah Rubin and former Baylor standout Juan Benitez of Colombia won Florida USTA Pro Circuit titles over the weekend in Tallahassee and Vero Beach respectively, with children at both events experiencing Net Generation Kids’ Days.
The 22-year-old Rubin is healthy again after injuries over the last few years slowing his progress. A runner-up at the Orange Park (outside of Jacksonville) USTA Pro Circuit stop the previous week, on Sunday Rubin won the Tallahassee Challenger title, in the final defeating Marc Polmans of Australia 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.
The win also put Rubin ahead as the favorite in the USTA’s 2018 Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge, which offers a French Open main draw wild card to the American player amassing the most tour points in select events in April and May.
“I think some people were shocked to see me there,” said Rubin of playing the lower-level Orange Park event, speaking to Newsday. “I thought it would be good to get some matches in, work hard. When I left there I was ready to go this week.”
Rubin will next look to secure the Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge and a French Open main draw appearance this week at the Savannah Challenger in Georgia. Americans Robert Galloway and Denis Kudla won the doubles title as an unseeded pair, in the championship defeating No. 4 seeds Enrique Perez Lopez of Spain and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of India 6-3, 6-1.
New this year, USTA Pro Circuit tournaments feature the USTA’s Net Generation, where local children at tournaments are given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in pre-match coin tosses, be a player escort prior to matches, or play tennis during an on-court Net Generation demonstration. Approximately 900 children overall competed in tennis clinics, Special Olympics and Net Generation activities at the Tallahassee Challenger.
Loads of fun with over 400 of our Net Generation friends at this year’s Tallahassee Tennis Challenger ! Students from…
Posted by USTA Florida on Monday, April 30, 2018
“Almost all the schools stayed and watched some pro matches after the clinics,” said USTA Florida Tennis Service Representative George English. “The clinic activities were led by Anne Davis, director of community engagement with USTA national, and more than 30 volunteers assisted. The students received Net Generation bags, plus information on the additional Net Generation Kids’ Day held on the Saturday of the final weekend.”
Like Rubin in Tallahassee, Benitez was likewise challenged in the final at the $15,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships in Vero Beach, outlasting Ricardo Rodriguez-Pace of Venezuela 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 at the Grand Harbor Golf & Beach Club.
For the 22-year-old Benitez it was a second ITF/USTA Pro Circuit title after winning in Morocco last year.
“I had some physical issues that didn’t help me to move like I usually do,” Benitez told TCPalm. “Sometimes I was being too passive and he was taking control of the point. I was either missing first, or he was making the winners.”
Benitez broke Rodriguez at 5-4 in the third set on his first match point opportunity. “He’s been playing at a very high level throughout the week and I congratulate him,” Benitez said of Rodriguez, who competes for Venezuela’s Davis Cup team. “It was a good battle.”
Americans Junior Alexander Ore and Miles Seemann won the doubles title, coming from a set down to beat fellow Americans Harrison Adams and Nick Chappell 4-6, 7-6(8), 10-6, saving three match points.
For more USTA Pro Circuit info go to www.usta.com/news.