On Saturday night, Long Island's Noah Rubin downed the number five seed, Connor Farren of Northern California, in three sets 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to win an all-American final at the 48th Copa del Café in Costa Rica. Rubin and Farren had played in late 2011 when Rubin had beaten the 17-year-old convincingly 6-2, 6-1 in a quarterfinals match, but this match was far more competitive.
"It was just such an unbelievable experience in a beautiful country," said Noah after the win. "The tournament officials and the crowds were so supportive of me during the entire tournament and playing in front of them at night was fantastic, so exciting."
Rubin showed his customary mental toughness throughout and after falling behind a set, he rallied to even the match and then again in the final set when he went down an early break (0-2) he again rallied for the victory.
"Aside from his terrific play, what I was most impressed with was his court presence and professionalism," said Lawrence Kleger, Noah's coach and executive director of tennis of Sportime Clubs of New York. "After the last point of the championship match in which he came back to win from a set down and 0-2 in the third, he gave a little fist pump and calmly walked up to shake hands. Like it was no big deal winning an ITF Level 1 event. It was a big deal! He is not a cocky kid but he does have deep inner confidence in his ability."
Rubin's first ITF event was the qualifying of the U.S. Open juniors in September of 2011, and making good use of his wild cards, he has now won his first ITF title. Rubin will break into the Top 100, jumping 60 spots to number 41. The last American to win at the Grade 1 hard court event was Madison Keys in 2009. Keys will make her Australian Open debut next week after winning a USTA Playoff in December to earn a main draw wild card.
Noah is headed next to Baranquilla, Colombia on Thursday with one of Sportime’s coaches, Salomon Levy, and two other Sportime juniors, Josh Levine (committed to Duke) and Brendan Henry (committed to Wake Forest).
"As Noah's dad and coach, I couldn't be more proud of him both as a incredibly warm and wonderful son and as an astonishing tennis player," said Eric Rubin. "He is just such an amazing individual."
Results from the 48th Copa del Café in Costa Rica
►Boys Champion: Noah Rubin (15) of the United States
►Boys Doubles Champions: Filip Bergevi (17) & Fred Simonsson (17) of Sweden
►Girls Champion: Sachia Vickery 16 of the United States
►Girls Doubles Champions: Laura Pigossi (17) of Brazil & Marcela Zacarías (17) of Mexico