- Associated Press - Monday, January 18, 2016

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Noah Rubin surprised more than a few people with his upset win over 17th-seeded Benoit Paire at the Australian Open on Monday.

“My girlfriend’s sending me pictures - I’m trending on Twitter. I mean, that stuff is cool,” Rubin said after his 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) first-round victory.

But the 19-year-old Long Island, New York, native said he’s not going to celebrate too much after knocking off a top-20 player to get his first-ever win at a Grand Slam tournament.

“People have done way better than me at my age,” he said. “People have won slams at my age so winning one round is not too terrific.”

The No. 328-ranked Rubin received a wild card entry into the main draw as part of a reciprocal agreement between the U.S. and Australian tennis associations. He had only played one previous Grand Slam match, a straight-sets loss to Argentina’s Federico Delbonis in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open.

Still, Rubin didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. He established himself as one of a group of up-and-coming young American players by winning the 2014 Wimbledon junior title.

“I love being in the spotlight,” he said. “I hope I don’t come off cocky or arrogant, but I do enjoy playing in the spotlight. I’ve always played my best tennis.”

He said he believes it helps to be part of a new generation of players breaking into the pro ranks at the same time. Three of the four junior titles at the Grand Slams were won last year by Americans: Tommy Paul (French Open), Reilly Opelka (Wimbledon) and Taylor Fritz (U.S. Open).

“It’s really inspiring. We have so many guys now together. If you look at the past years, the champions come because they have people with them to support them and to encourage them and just friendly competition throughout the country. I don’t know if we’ve had that for a while (in the U.S.),” he said.

Rubin showed a steadiness and consistency that the more experienced Paire lacked on Monday.

Paire, who made a sartorial statement by wearing one red and one black shoe, had 61 winners compared with just 22 for the American, but also 72 unforced errors.

Later, the Frenchman didn’t have many kind words for his opponent.

“I played against a not-good player, but I was very bad today so that’s it, I lost,” he said.

It’s Rubin, not Paire, though, who’s through to the second round to face another French player, qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

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