Qualifier Bachinger living ‘crazy’ fairytale of New York

Matthias Bachinger knows New York fairytales are real because he is living one at the US Open.

Qualifier Bachinger living ‘crazy’ fairytale of New York

The German qualifier plays Andy Murray in the second round today after beating Radek Stepanek on Monday for his first ever grand slam victory.

But Bachinger was not supposed to be in New York.

His ranking, which now sits at 235, was too low to make the cut for qualifying, and he was so far adrift that he did not even travel to the States in the hope that people would pull out.

“I didn’t think I would get in,” said the 27-year-old. “They called me last Monday. I flew here from Europe on Tuesday, I arrived in the afternoon and I played on the Wednesday.

“So my preparation was not very good, but from the beginning I had a very good feeling. Sometimes life is crazy.”

Bachinger had been playing on clay back home in Munich but somehow the unusual preparation worked as he breezed through qualifying.

More surprisingly still, he then eased past Stepanek, one of the trickiest customers on tour, and has not lost more than three games in any set.

He said of the Stepanek win: “I played unbelievable. I think it was my best match ever. Stepanek is not a bad guy. He has much experience. But everything went for me and I played really well. It was the best tennis day of my life maybe.

“I’ve played at grand slams five times before. I played here twice and lost in five sets. But I knew that I could play really well here and I showed my best tennis and am really happy.”

Bachinger and Murray have never played each other in a professional match but they were briefly junior rivals – the German is a month older.

“I’m really looking forward to playing him.,” said Bachinger. “When we were 14 we played each other a few times. Now it’s a different match, for sure, but I’m really looking forward to it. We’ll be on a big court.

“I won one time, 7-6 in the third. It was in Italy. I’ve never forgotten that because in juniors he was really, really good. Then I think I lost to him three times.

“He was fighting for every ball, just like he does now. You could already see that he would be a top star.”

After that their paths went different ways, with Murray quickly climbing to the top of the junior game and breaking through in the seniors.

Bachinger took much longer to make his mark, spending the majority of his career on the second-tier Challenger circuit.

He broke into the top 100 for the first time in 2011 but began to slide down again the following year, with niggling injuries taking their toll and leaving him questioning his future.

“Of course I thought about stopping,” he said. “But I didn’t want to stop like this.

“I wanted to stop when I could say that I had done everything, that I had done my best.

“I worked really hard and I don’t like to give up. Now I’m here and it’s really nice.”

The German will go into his clash against Murray as a big underdog but the Scot’s first-round struggles show nothing can be taken for granted.

Murray survived an unexpected and perplexing bout of cramp against Robin Haase that came close to ending his campaign before it had really begun.


Womens Singles 1st rd: Sorana Cirstea (Rom) bt Heather Watson (Gbr) 6-1 6-1, Karolina Pliskova (Cze) bt Yvonne Meusburger (Aut) 6-2 6-2; Qiang Wang (Chn) bt Paula Kania (Pol) 6-2 6-0, Mona Barthel (Ger) bt Shuai Zhang (Chn) 6-1 6-2, (8) Ana Ivanovic (Ser) bt Alison Riske (USA) 6-3 6-0, (24) Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt Lauren Davis (USA) 6-1 6-4, (29) Casey Dellacqua (Aus) bt Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (Aut) 7-5 6-3; Varvara Lepchenko (USA) bt Alison Van Uytvanck (Bel) 7-5 6-2, Marina Erakovic (Nzl) bt (30) Svetlana Kuznetsova (Rus) 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-3)

Mens Singles 1st rd: (28) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa) bt Yen-Hsun Lu (Tpe) 6-4 6-2 6-2, Marcel Granollers (Spa) bt Jurgen Melzer (Aut) 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 6-2, (10) Kei Nishikori (Jpn) bt Wayne Odesnik (USA) 6-2 6-4 6-2, (25) Ivo Karlovic (Cro) bt Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-4; Sam Querrey (USA) bt Maximo Gonzalez (Arg) 6-2 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3, Federico Del Bonis (Arg) bt Noah Rubin (USA) 6-4 6-3 6-0,(15) Fabio Fognini (Ita) bt Andrey Golubev (Kaz) 6-4 6-4 6-2, Pablo Andujar (Spa) bt Jack Sock (USA) 6-4 3-6 6-1 ret, (13) John Isner (USA) bt Marcos Giron (USA) 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-2)

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