Noah Rubin & Jamie Loeb are on a roll!

“Top seed Noah Rubin survived some impressive play by unseeded JC Aragone, taking a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory that featured some of the best rallies of the tournament. Rubin, back to competition after a long injury layoff, used his speed to hang with Aragone’s big ground strokes, raising his game as the match reached its conclusion.  Rubin will play unseeded Henrik Wiersholm, a 6-0, 6-3 winner over unseeded Ciro Riccardi.  Rubin defeated Wiersholm in straight sets in the second round of last fall’s Pan American Closed…Loeb4-4-13

Loeb, who had lost only one game in her previous two matches, led No. 11 seed Maria Shishkina of Kazakhstan 6-3, 5-1 on Thursday, but was broken in two consecutive attempts to serve out the win. Shishkina wasn’t sharp throughout most of the match, making unforced errors early in rallies, but once the end was near, she began hitting out, eliminating mistakes and pressing Loeb.

Loeb was broken serving at 5-1 and at 5-3, but she kept calm and put with the pressure back on Shishkina. Down 15-40 after netting a forehand, Shishkina thought Loeb’s shot was beyond the baseline, but it was Shishkina’s reply that was called out, giving Loeb the win, despite Shishkina’s protests.

“I was kind of on the defense and not stepping up and controlling the points,” Loeb said of her failure to end the match earlier. “The last game I focused in on one point at a time and she was making the errors, so I pulled through.”

Loeb admits that in addition to her goal of winning here in Carson and at next week’s Easter Bowl, she hopes to gain enough points to play the junior slams this summer.

“I do want to get my ranking high enough so I can make main draw of junior French and junior Wimbledon and junior US Open,” said Loeb, who has committed to play for the University of North Carolina this fall. “I’m not going to be playing any other ITFs before those.”

Loeb lost in the first round of both tournaments last year, and she believes she is a much better player now than she was then.

“I feel like I’m a different player from last year,” said Loeb, who trains at the John McEnroe Academy in New York. “Overall, I’ve improved, and I feel I’m much better than I was, even a couple months ago. Right now I feel pretty good, especially playing the women’s (Pro Circuit) tournaments. It’s definitely helped me, and since I’ve been playing against them and getting experience there, coming here, I feel good about how I’m playing.”

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Artice provided by COLETTE LEWIS –