After a year of many firsts and breakthroughs, 27-year-old Pedro Cachin stands on the precipice of yet another milestone–his first second-week run at a Slam. The Argentine will face off against lucky loser Corentin Moutet in the third round of the US Open, but at the beginning of the season, this rise seemed anything but likely.
Cachin only managed to break into the Top 250 at the very end of the 2021 season, beginning this year as a fringe Challenger player hoping to establish himself. The start of the season did not go the Argentine’s way, losing in the second round in Traralgon and second qualifying round at the Australian Open. The first positive sign came at the Santa Cruz Challenger, where Cachin made the semifinals, albeit without a particularly impressive win. That run would also seem a fluke as the 27-year-old lost in the first round at both Santiago and Concepcion, even having to retire in the second set from the latter. Cachin’s first three months seemed mixed at best.
Cachin’s breakthrough run came at the very end of March once he came over to Europe at the Challenger 125 in Marbella. The 27-year-old defeated Dominic Thiem on the Austrian’s return to tennis and also earned impressive wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Pablo Andujar en route to his biggest career final. There, the Argentine would win just four games against Jaume Munar but something had finally clicked.
Cachin, mentored and coached by former No. 2 Alex Corretja, won two of the next three Challengers he played after Marbella, leaving Madrid and Prague with trophies. Two weeks later, the Argentine made his Slam main draw debut at Roland Garros, making the second round as a lucky loser after getting beaten by Pavel Kotov but taking out Norbert Gombos in the main draw. The 27-year-old followed it up with a run to the Lyon final, including a win over Richard Gasquet in the semifinals.
The Argentine hit another milestone in July, breaking through to the Top 100 after his third title of the season in Todi. Cachin then reached the final in Verona the very next week but ran out of gas at the final hurdle against Francesco Maestrelli. After that came an unsuccessful debut on the ATP Tour, Cachin losing to Giulio Zeppieri in the first round in Umag which then led the Argentine to take a three-week break. The 27-year-old came back at the Challenger 125 in Santo Domingo, winning his fourth Challenger title of the season and the biggest one of his career before going off to New York for the US Open.
Cachin, making his first direct entry into a Slam in his career, was not seen as likely to make an impact at this US Open due to his lack of experience on hard courts, not playing on the surface since January. The Argentine is more aggressive than the typical clay-court grinder but still came into his first round as a slight favorite over the struggling Aljaz Bedene.
The Slovene came back from injury after eight months in March this year and outside of his third-round run at the French Open, he has truly struggled, not winning a match since. Cachin started the match well and looked like he was going to cruise to victory, winning the first two sets 6-4 6-3 and getting a 3-1 lead in the third. Bedene fought back to take the third set 7-5 and dominated in the fourth set, winning it 6-1. The deciding set was incredibly tight, with not a single break before the two headed to a final ten-point tiebreak. The two stayed even until 3-2 for Cachin, when the Argentine began to run away with the lead, getting his first match point at 9-4. On the third match point, Cachin took the victory.
His second-round match was much more wild, coming up against American wild card Brandon Holt, who upset tenth seed Taylor Fritz. Holt absolutely dominated the first two sets, dropping just three games. Cachin fought back in the third set and jumped away to a double break quickly, winning the third set 6-1. Holt came back strong after taking a set off, breaking for 3-1. The Argentine broke back for 4-4, just one game before he would have to serve to stay in the match. The set headed to a tiebreak where Cachin dominated, winning 7-1. The deciding set was tight once again, without a single break and heading to the tiebreak. Cachin was the stronger player throughout and won 10-6.
Next up for the Argentine is lucky loser Corentin Moutet, who got a retirement from Stan Wawrinka in the opener before taking out 21st seed Botic Van De Zandschulp. The Frenchman will be the favorite but Cachin has shown throughout the year that he can never be counted out.
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